Meigs County: Looking back at 2016

October through December

By Sarah Hawley -

Clockwise from top left: Award recipients at the annual Chamber Gala. Public officials were sworn in to begin their new terms. Volunteers work on the Habitat House in Middleport.

Clockwise from top left: Award recipients at the annual Chamber Gala. Public officials were sworn in to begin their new terms. Volunteers work on the Habitat House in Middleport.

MEIGS COUNTY — As we end of 2016, The Daily Sentinel has taken a look back at some of the top stories of the year and what has taken place in Meigs County.

Today, we take a look at the final three months of 2016 as we look forward to 2017.


Sentinel moves to new home

We started October with a move from our location of nearly 50 years. The Daily Sentinel had been at 111 Court Street since the 1960s, but with the building having been sold we moved around the corner to 109 West Second Street.

Former President comes to Athens

Former President Bill Clinton began his “Stronger Together” bus tour through Ohio in Athens on Tuesday morning, campaigning on behalf of his wife, Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Bill Clinton reportedly spent Monday night at the OU Inn in Athens before Tuesday’s campaign event. For the former president, it was a return trip to southeastern Ohio.

Clinton previously spoke at OU during his presidential campaign “back in the dark ages, before most of you could vote and many of you were born.” Clinton also spoke in Athens in 2008 as part of his wife’s primary campaign.

Meigs Local treasurer, board member recognized at OSBA conference

Meigs Local School District Treasurer Roy Johnson and Board Member Roger Abbot were recently honored by the Ohio School Boards Association.

Johnson and Abbott were recognized during the OSBA Southeast Region Fall Conference held Sept. 29 at Nelsonville-York Middle School.

Johnson, the treasurer/CFO for Meigs Local Schools, was presented with the Outstanding Treasurer Award.

The award is presented annually, recognizing the top treasurer from nominations received throughout the region’s 18 counties, which includes 84 school districts.

Abbott was recognized with the Outstanding School Board Member award. The award is presented to school board members in the region for their outstanding service to their boards of education, school districts and community.

Abbott, who is serving his 22nd year on the board, was nominated by fellow board members from Meigs Local.

Abbott has been elected to the board six times, having served three years as president and seven years as vice president.

BBYFL turns 30

The 2016 season marked the 30th year of the Big Bend Youth Football League.

The league was founded in 1986 by Dave Jenkins, Hank Cleland, Jack Williams, Byant Hudson and Bill Spaun. Jenkins remained with the league for 26 years until his death in 2010.

The league serves over 200 kids per year and the number of teams vary in size and schools, with teams from Eastern, Southern, Wahama and Meigs taking part each year.

The league calls the Middleport Stadium home and has done so for the past 15 years. Now that the Council on Aging owns the field, the league has worked with the council to assure that both things can co-exsit making the best effort for the community.

Many of the founders’ grandchildren have also participated in the league, which is proud to have had many go on to play college football and become All-American athletes.

Chamber presents awards at annual gala

The Meigs County Chamber of Commerce held its annual gala, presenting awards to those in the business community.

Each year the Chamber presents six awards — Best First Impression, Economic Impact, Entrepreneur of the Year, David P. Baker Award, Community Pillar and Lifetime Business Achievement.

The Best First Impression award went to Maple Lawn Brewery in Pomeroy which opened its doors to customers in April after purchasing and renovating a building in Pomeroy during late 2015 and early 2016.

The Economic Impact Award was presented to Imperial Electric. Nidec Corp., Imperial Electric’s parent company announced earlier this year that it would be investing $3.2 million in its Middleport location, creating 18 new jobs.

Entrepreneur of the Year was presented to Mark Porter. In presenting the award, Chamber Director Whitney Thoene said that in 10 years, Porter has expanded from the one location to add two others, as well as opening a new dealership in Meigs County. Porter’s dealerships in Pomeroy, Athens and Jackson now have around 105 employees.

The David P. Baker Award is presented each year to a chamber member who is a reliable source for the chamber, as well as stepping our of their comfort zone for the good of the chamber. The award for 2016 was presented to Chamber Board Member Sarah Dawn Roush.

The Community Pillar Award to Duane Weber. The Weber family opened Quality Print Shop, where Weber continues to print many programs, invitations and other items for local sports programs, schools and event the program for Thursday’s chamber event. Weber and members of his family also have a Christmas tree farm at the old home place in Rutland. Roush said that in addition to helping families find their Christmas tree, Weber makes sure that the children all leave with candy canes, among other roles in the community.

The final award of the night was the Lifetime Business Achievement Award which was presented to Vera Crow. At age 91, Crow remains an active member of the business community, working seven days a week at what is now KFC-Long John Silvers in Pomeroy. Crow’s granddaughter Lindy Gilkey told the story of her grandmother’s journey that led to her receiving the award on Thursday.

Holzer officially names new CEO

Holzer Health System has a new permanent chief executive officer.

Dr. Michael Canady, who has been serving as interim CEO since late September, was the unanimous choice of the Holzer Board of Directors in a decision that was made Oct. 26.

Canady takes over for Dr. Christopher O. Meyer, who was terminated as Holzer’s CEO on Sept. 23 because of “differences related to the direction of the organization.” Meyer had served as CEO for approximately 21 months.

WWII Veterans receives Purple Heart

World War II veteran Cpl. Ernest Bush was presented with the Purple Heart during a ceremony on Saturday at Overbrook Nursing Home in Middleport where he now resides. Bush joined the Army on Sept. 28, 1942, earning the Purple Heart for his services with the 106th Calvary Squadron which was deployed in Normandy, France in February 1944.


Blitz Build held on Habitat house

Meigs County’s first Habitat for Humanity project is well on its way to completion after this weekend’s Blitz Build.

Dozens of volunteers, including many employees of Farmers Bank and Ohio Valley Bank, were at the build site on Brownell Avenue on Friday putting up walls, installing windows and many other projects on the house.

The two-day Blitz Build was sponsored by Farmers Bank (Friday) and Ohio Valley Bank (Saturday). Additionally, Mark Porter GM sponsored the wall build which was conducted by the Meigs football team.

The build still has several more weeks of work taking place with continued volunteer opportunities. To volunteer contact Samantha Waldron by emailing

Sergent named OVP Editor

A familiar face in the Tri-County region has been appointed editor of Ohio Valley Publishing (OVP).

Beth Sergent has been with OVP since 2004, starting as a staff reporter with The Daily Sentinel where she worked until being transferred to the Point Pleasant Register in 2011. Earlier this year, Sergent was named managing editor of the Register. The OVP group of newspapers includes the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, The Daily Sentinel and Point Pleasant Register.

Republicans sweep Ohio

Republican candidates Donald J. Trump, President; Rob Portman, U.S. Senate; Bill Johnson, 6th District House of Representatives; Frank Hoagland, 30th Senate District; Jay Edwards, 94th District House of Representatives will represent the area.

Portman and Johnson are incumbents, while Hoagland defeated incumbent Lou Gentile and Edwards will replace term-limited Democrat Debbie Phillips.

Meigs voters approve levies

Meigs County voters supported local tax levies in the November general election.

Voters approved levies for the Meigs County Health Department and Carleton School/Meigs Industries, as well as each of the township and village levies.

The lone ballot measure to be defeated in Meigs County was the matter of electric aggregation.

Sheriff recognized for assistance in Pike County

Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood was recognized with the Distinguished Service Award from the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association.

Wood was nominated for the honor by Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader for Wood’s work in Pike County following the murder of eight members of the Rhoden family in April 2016.

Wood and others, including a chief deputy from Warren County, were recognized for their assistance in the early part of the investigation into the shootings.

The Meigs County Sheriff spent four weeks in Pike County, being down there beginning on the first day to offer his assistance.

Racine CRA hits three-year mark

The village of Racine hit the three-year mark as a Community Reinvestment Act area.

In November 2013, Racine was approved through the Ohio Development Services Area for the program, which allows for those building in the area or conducting certain renovations to receive tax incentives up to and including 10-year tax exempt status on property taxes.

This program permits municipalities or counties to designate areas where investment has been discouraged as a CRA to encourage revitalization of the existing housing stock and the development of new structures. Local municipalities or counties can determine the type of development to be supported by the CRA program by specifying the eligibility of residential, commercial and/or industrial projects.

In October, Racine Mayor Scott Hill explained that, to date, the CRA program, which is available for residential or business properties in the village, had been utilized four times. Hill said the program has likely not been utilized more as people do not know it is available.

The village implemented the CRA with the goal of having new homeowners come into the village, changing the demographic and adding new growth, development and population. This would also benefit the school district as families coming to the area could mean additional students for the schools. It could also bring in younger property owners to the village.


Mugrage takes office

Sammi Mugrage took office as Clerk of Courts a month early, replacing Diane Lynch who retired at the end of November.

Mugrage defeated Lynch in the March Republican primary and was unopposed in the November general election.

Office holders sworn in for new terms

Although they may not take office until 2017, Meigs County’s public officials who were elected in the November General Election were officially sworn in early December in preparation for their terms.

Taking the oath for the first time as an elected official in Meigs County was Prosecutor-elect James K. Stanley. Clerk of Courts Sammi Mugrage was also being sworn in for her first term. Sworn in for their new terms after being re-elected were Engineer Eugene Triplett, Sheriff Keith Wood, Commissioners Mike Bartrum and Randy Smith, Recorder Kay Hill and Treasurer Peggy Yost.

EMS speaks out on ‘Ransomware’ hack

Meigs County EMS has released a statement regarding a “ransomware” computer hack it say occurred earlier this fall.

According to the statement, while EMS information, including patient information, was accessed, there is no information indicating that that data has been used inappropriately. Services are also being offered to those whose information was accessed by the computer attack.

W.Va. man pleads guilty in murder case

A West Virginia man could spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty in Meigs County Common Pleas Court on Monday to aggravated murder.

Christopher M. Dailey, 44, of Sandyville, W.Va., formally changed his plea to guilty to the single count related to the shooting death of Brandon M. Lupardus, 30, of Millwood, W.Va.

By pleading guilty to aggravated murder, Dailey could have been sentenced to life in prison without parole or life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20, 25 or 30 years.

In entering into a plea agreement, the two sides agreed to a joint sentencing recommendation of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years.

Cheshire man pleads guilty to aggravated robbery

A Cheshire man was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to felony charges from an August incident in the Leading Creek Road area of Meigs County.

Brandon L. Stewart, 21, pleaded guilty in Meigs County Common Pleas Court to aggravated robbery, a first degree felony, and felonious assault, a second degree felony.

The charges against Stewart stem from an Aug. 3 incident.

According to previous Sentinel reports, the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office was attempting to locate Stewart on felony warrants from Gallia County, as well as a grand theft charge in Meigs County.

As a press release was sent out on Aug. 3 asking for the public’s assistance in locating Stewart, an emergency call indicated that a man was at Drehel’s Small Engines on Leading Creek Road allegedly demanding money while in possession of a firearm. The individual was later identified as Stewart.

Stewart reportedly attempted to escape, allegedly pointing a handgun at law enforcement. A shot was fired by a deputy, but did not strike Stewart. He was then taken into custody. Statements taken from employees at the mower shop indicated Stewart had allegedly fired a shot while at the shop.

Shop with a Cop

Months of fundraising efforts paid off on as was evident in the smiles on faces of 16 kids as they spent the morning with local law enforcement shopping for Christmas.

This is the fourth year the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office has taken part in a “Shop with a Cop” program, but this year was by far the biggest for the group.

The sheriff’s office took 16 kids out to breakfast at Bob Evans where they were visited by Santa and then to shop for gifts for Christmas.

From picking out the perfect pair of shoes to hats, scarves and other clothing items, toys, make up and perfumes, deputies and kids made their way around the store selecting numerous items for the kids to take home with them following the shopping trip.

Clockwise from top left: Award recipients at the annual Chamber Gala. Public officials were sworn in to begin their new terms. Volunteers work on the Habitat House in Middleport. from top left: Award recipients at the annual Chamber Gala. Public officials were sworn in to begin their new terms. Volunteers work on the Habitat House in Middleport.
October through December

By Sarah Hawley