by tamara pettit

……Mark Sept 22. 2021 down.   It will probably be the first time (and perhaps the last time) that I agree wholeheartedly with former Sen. Ed Bowman.  Tearing down the Edwin Bowman ball field so that City of Weirton can put its police headquarters on the land is a poor use of public resources. Consider the effort, funding and dedication to create a working ballfield for area…that is still in use…and one wonders if Weirton City Council understands that economic development does not mean tearing down a property that is an important resource.  The Park Board has acquired a federal matching grant of $121,000.00 for upgrades and Council has asked the Park Board to postpone work on the complex while they make up their mind if the property will be the site of the new police headquarters.     In my mind,  Council overstepped its authority by attempting to dictate to a fully autonomous board.  The Park Board responded that they will not halt work and will proceed with their improvements.  Looks to me like new Weirton City ManagerMike Adams has quite a challenge in dealing with the situation.  Board Chair Bowman has said City Council has no authority over the Park Board.   I would guess the City believes otherwise.

……Hancock County Board of Education voted to let the architects go out for bid on a new baseball and softball fields for Weir High on the school’s campus.  President Danny Kaser  stressed that the Board can’t make a decision until they get a price for the project.  But, why build new field when a 4-acre sports complex is a few miles away?

……While we want to make sure that both high schools are treated fairly, that does not mean that funds need to be expended for the same amount.  I’ve heard rumor that Oak Glen’s field turf would not have needed replaced for two years, but was replaced because Weir High’s was being replaced. While both Weir and Oak Glen’s fields were built at the same time, Weir’s field was also home to Madonna’s games and had much more wear.  Conversely, Weir High has a perfectly good baseball field that meets the needs of the team and student body.  In the quest for all things to be equal in the north and south ends of the county, let’s not foster duplication of effort and assets.

……My Mom always thought the Christmas gifts for my two kids had to be equal to the penny so she would throw in a pair of underwear or socks to “even out” their gift.  I always thought she was sending the wrong message to them.  Life isn’t equal.

…..I love a good story about a mid-life change in career path especially in these turbulent times.   When I worked at West Virginia Northern Community College, our president, Dr. Barbara Guthrie-Morse, used to remind us of the value of lifelong learning saying that the average worker would change jobs seven or eight times in his/her working lifetime.  That may have been the case nationally, but in Hancock County that statement didn’t strike a chord.   Up until the eighties, workers went to Weirton Steel right out of high school and stayed until they retired.  No-one switched careers.  That all changed in the big layoffs of 1983 when the steel industry began its downward spiral and many learned they wouldn’t be coming back to the mill and needed to learn a new skill or trade.

……Suddenly WVNCC was offering classes on writing a resume and workers were learning the importance of finding a job with benefits.  Our economy moved from a paternalistic one, where Weirton Steel provided for its workers; their kids; and the community throughout their life, to one in which each worker is responsible for his/her own future.

……That was the economic climate when Dr. Manuel Ballas made a huge change in his career path.  He had graduated from West Liberty and got his master’s from WVU while working a production planning supervisor at Weirton Steel and had 15 years invested in that career.  He said he saw the steel industry faltering and was looking for a field that provided for his family and allowed him to help people.  Dr. Ballas switched gears and enrolled at the WV Osteopathic Medical School.  He graduated in 1993.  Since that time, he has served the community as an OB/GYN delivering over 7,000 babies.  

…..I actually wanted to be a journalist when I started my career path.  When I enrolled at Fairmont State right out of high school, my major was journalism.  My Mom was appalled that I should think anyone would pay me money to write so she insisted my minor be secretarial science.  (I was a really good typist.)  Didn’t matter because I pretty quickly took a detour on my path to the Mommy track and didn’t return to college until my kids were grown.  While  I took some interesting side roads on the way here, it’s really good to say that with Hometown News, I’m right where I wanted to be.