Sunday, June 28, 2009

Floodwall Exercise

Editor's Note: The story that I was going to run, was of Gina Hampson, but due to my other computer going down, and the information that was on the hard drive, I had to change my story for this week. As soon as I get the information from the other computer, Gina's story will appear. Thank you and take care.

Saturday, June 27, 2009, the Wellsville and Highlandtown Volunteer Fire Departments did a training exercise regarding the floodwall. This is a regular training that these wonderful departments due every 2 or 3 years incase there should happen to be flooding of the Creek and the Ohio River. They started out blocking St. Rt. 45/Wells Avenue at the bridge and traffic was stopped at the McDonald's entrance. While the trucks were being placed, other fire personnel were removing the plates from the pavement for the support beams for the wall to be placed. Once the plates and the dirt were removed from the holes, the support beams, planks, bars, tarps, and other materials that were needed from the storage shed alongside the inner part of the flood wall.

I'm not going to go through this step-by-step process, but, it was a sight to see. And I was amazed on the process to which they go through in order make sure that the wall goes up and keeps our village safe from flooding. This was my very first time witnessing this event. And I can not wait to see this happen again. Anyone who has not seen this, should go and witness it but please, and I do mean please, stay out of their way. Even though this was just a training exercise, the firemen need their space to do their job quickly, efficiently, and accurately. I did my best to stay out of their way, as did the other reporters, photographers, and general bystanders. Even Channel 27 out of Youngstown, Ohio was there to do a small report, and was there for a good portion of the event.

The firemen involved should be praised for their job well done even though they took their time doing it even though it was just an exercise. It was hot, muggy, and they were sweating. But had it been an emergency they may not have taken small breaks to replenish water into their bodies. I'm pretty sure other fireman from the area would be down to help them out like Highlandtown does. The wall would go up quickly without no hesitation in an emergency situation. I am happy to say that I was in complete awe of their job. If I was allowed to assist them, I would have. It may not have been fun, but just being able to lend a hand to these men, would have been an honor.

So people of Wellsville, next time you read in the paper about the flood wall training exercise, please attend, stay out of their way, give them encouragement, and praise them for their job and a job well done.

Thank you and take care!
( This is my first attempt at loading pictures on this site. I know they are in the wrong order, something I didn't realize that would happen until it was too late. So, please forgive me if mistakes are made along the way).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gina Hampson

You could say that Gina Hampson's art is worldwide. Not like you think that is in art galleries, but on Google Earth. If you have a computer, you can download a program, type in Wellsville, the world will spin, and go straight to Wellsville. But once there, there will be blue blocks over the city, use your mouse, left click, and BLAM! The flood wall murals will show. So, anyone in the world, who has this program, can see her work there.

But just by talking with Gina, it seems that she is not too worried about world-wide recognition. She loves art! To her it is fun, it is beauty. Listening to Gina talk, gave me the feeling that art was more of a pleasure to do. She enjoys it, and accepts the challenges that she faces when she accepts a project. To her this is a labor of love.

Ms. Hampton is not from Wellsville, but her presence here every spring and summer painting the murals on the flood wall kind of makes her feel like a resident. Whenever she is in town to paint, people stop by, look at her work, talk with her, and give her compliments, telling her what a nice job she is doing. That makes her feel good, that her art can make someone smile, even if it is for a few minutes of the day. Gina is a 1980 graduate from Alliance, Ohio. She got started in art with her dad by drawing the pictures from the TV Guides. Remember those? I do, because I tried to do those and couldn't do them. Over the years, she honed her skills from the magazines, to canvas, to bedroom walls, bars, and flood walls. Her work can be seen all over Wellsville from inside The Busy Bee and back of it, to The Melvin Newlin Memorial.

How she got started doing the murals was through word-of-mouth and the Wellsville Revitalization Committee approached her with the idea about painting the flood wall. Candy Bangor and Connie Carmichael of the WRC saw her work at various establishments and decide to ask her about doing the flood wall project. She accepted, not realizing, and to her surprise, 'What did I get myself into?', as she laughed. Explains Connie, " It was like the blind leading the blind, but confident of her work." While all her work is mainly inside, outside work was new to her. Not knowing what kind of paint to use, she had to ask other painters what they used on concrete, and the committee also did some research as well, calling all over the United States and Canada about what paint to use and sealer because they want it to last. Once she found out, she got started. But before she can actually get started, the fire department has to hose down the wall and patch up any holes or cracks that may be in the way. Everything is free-hand, no projectors. Even though the use of projectors would have been easier and faster, doing it free-hand was more personal. Gina has been painting the murals now for about 5 years.

Not recognizing the significance and the importance of the history Wellsville has, she was asked by a woman why there was no African-Americans on the wall. Having come from a city like Alliance, with the diverse ethnic background they have, it was an oversight that she made, but soon corrected. But Candy explained that it was a conscience effort to put all kinds of ethnic background on the wall. And if you go and view the wall you can see that there is. Even though there are alot of people, and faces on the wall, you really can not tell what group is what, but that's ok. I'm pretty sure all ethnic groups are well represented, and that makes Gina and the committee feel good. " We want all of Wellsville represented" says Connie.

When people stop by to see her work, she is surprised by the amount of support and encouragement that she receives. She is also surprised that she has not receives any criticism. Not all people are going to like something like a project of this magnitude, and if there is criticism, no one is saying anything. But she has to laugh because when people are watching her paint they hardly say much, but when she is finished with a mural, people will point out something that is wrong with the painting. " I paint the picture that is given to me and that is all I have to go on".

While I told her that I had a few favorite murals, like The Tastee Freeze, she had one as well. It is the mural of the Armed Forces with the battle and hospital ship, and a face of a man with the last name Madden. The reason why she likes this is one of her favorites, was because she was able to put a face on one of the projects because no portraits are allowed in any of the murals. But as Connie and Cathy both explained that a portrait wouldn't look right with just one large head shot, but could put smaller head shots on a mural, depending on family, money and committee votes. But if something could be worked out to have just one portraits then it could become something they could do in the future. It would be nice if that could happen because there are quite of few people who rightfully deserve to go up on the wall. But they have policies in place that they have to go by and must be respected.

Both Candy and Connie stated that the committee hopes that the mural project is a springboard to help jump start Gina's career not just as an artist but as an mural artist. Gina is a talent who's work should be seen and not hidden. They also hope the project will bring in tourist. Almost every time I go uptown to the store and I see Gina's car, I can bet I can see people up there viewing her work. And I bet they are from out of town too. Word of mouth is a powerful tool to use when you want to give praise about someone and/or their work. And I do hope she does get the recognition that she so rightfully deserve. Gina didn't have to do it. But she did. It was a challenge, a challenge she met head on and so far is beating that challenge.

In case you are wondering about if Gina is getting paid, she is. Most of the money comes from donations and private work. Anything that the committee receives is greatly appreciated. They don't do tag days, but do have events like the Halloween walk and from a couple of months ago, the Old Grey Mayors basketball game, a game between Wellsville and East Liverpool (East Liverpool won, booo, BOOOOO).

With at least 2 more years left on the project you can bet to see Gina back at the wall to finish the wall. Either on the ladder on sitting on the ground she brushes on. The only thing that will stop her is bad weather. On a bright shiny day and you see a small black car parked across from the Boy With the Leaky Boot, Gina is on the other side painting away. And when she is done, more lights will go up, more people will visit the wall, taking pictures. For some reason or another the Murals will be the 'Pride Of Wellsville'. We all have Gina Hampson to thank for that. Thank you Gina for the years of of hard work and sacrifice you put into this project. Without you the wall would not look as good as they do and hopefully will look good for years to come. Maybe, just maybe the future generation of Wellsville will appreciate the murals like the generation of now does. We all see what our Wellsville used to look like and and can remember those days of long ago. We all have our favorites, I know I do (TASTEE FREEZE). If you have the chance, go on up and say hi, tell Gina what a wonderful job she is doing. Gina you may not be from Wellsville, but for now, you are one of us, a Wellsvillian.

Thank You and Take Care.

Editors note: The murals are on the Internet. On on these sites:, look under artist paint the village.

Gina isn't the only one with talent in her family. She has a sister who lives in Baltimore, Md. and she goes by the name Unicycle Lady, (unicycle

And if you know someone that is on the Revitalization Committee, give them some praise for their efforts on trying to make Wellsville a better place to live.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

P.O.W. - People of Wellsville

Welcome to P.O.W - People of Wellsville. This is a site that will introduce ordinary, everyday people that live in Wellsville to the world of blogging. I will go around talking to people asking if they would like to be interviewed and have it posted on my blog. If not, I will thank them for their time and seek other unsuspecting people.

I got my idea just by riding or walking around town and seeing alot of people going about their everyday lives. It got me wondering if some people really know what they are doing. Not just their friends, but the ones they do not know. How interesting would that be to give them atleast their 15 minutes of Wellsville Fame? So that is why I decided to do this. There are alot of people in this town who has done extraordinary things, whether it be sports, politics, or just plain doing humanitarian things. But there are alot of those who go unrecognized just by being invisible and continuing to do what they do. Now there is a vehicle that will put them in the spotlight for just a while. That is all they need to get others to talk about them and give them a pat on the back, and say Thanks.

I ran this idea by some people and they thought it would be a great idea to do this. So after a long process, and careful consideration, I asked a few people if they would like to help me out and all agreed. I can not do this alone, this is why I have this team assembled.

Without further ado, here are my administrators and authors:

Bud Salter

HR (Bud) Salter is a 1978 graduate of Wellsville High School and will be one of the contributors to the POW! (People of Wellsville) Blog. Bud completed his undergraduate work at the University of Notre Dame, where he recieved a BSEE degree in 1982, and went on to obtain an MBA in Finance from West Coast University in 1990. He started his engineering career in 1982 at Ford Aerospace in Newport Beach, CA, assuming greater responsibility in various defense contracts over the years. Ford Aerospace was acquired by LORAL Aerospace in 1992, then by Lockheed Martin in 1995. Bud then relocated to Orlando, FL with Lockheed Martin in 1997. He joined the Meads International Program in 2001, where he is currently the Requirements Team Lead and worked 2 years in Munich, Germany from 2005 - 2007, with Lockheed partner LFK.

He currently resides in Orlando, FL with his wife Linda, and three children. He is a member of the Windermere Community Church and is actively involved in Colon Cancer Awareness, and volunteers regularly for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life.

Cheryl Montgomery-Roe

Cheryl is a 1986 graduate of Wellsville High School, and a 1990 graduate of Jefferson Technical College. She worked for Dr. Francisco D. Avellana 1990-2001, and now is at East Liverpool City Hospital Radiology Department. She has 2 children, Geordon almost 13 and Olivia 8 1/2 years old. She loves the fact that she is still in Wellsville, after traveling abroad and stateside, and that her children are growing up here and going to our schools!!

Karenna (Tice) Harty

Karenna is originally from Wellsville, but has been living in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA since 1985. The wife of an Atlanta Police Sgt for the past 19 years, the have 2 beautiful daughters, Kristen (21) and Kaleigh (17), and one of the most awesome grandsons' you would ever meet, Mikey (2).

Karenna graduated from Wellsville in 1984, attended Kent State-East Liverpool for one year then hightailed it to GA. She may have been gone from The Ville for many years now, but there is one thing she has never forgotten....where she comes from!!!! Wellsville and the people of Wellsville have molded her into the person she is today. It also helps that there are several folks from The Ville within a 10 mile radius and they talk often!

Most of her time is spent in the activities of her youngest daughter who is a competitive cheerleader for both her High School and an All-Star Cheerleading Gym. They have travelled all over the Southeast competing in competitions and meeting people from all parts of The United States and hasn't met a single person who has heard of Wellsville.

The majority of her family still live in The Ville and comes home often to visit. Kind of hard getting her mom to leave the corner of 6th and Main Streets. She still has many friends here and with Facebook has reconnected with many of them. She hopes you enjoy what Charlie has put together for you here on the site and hopes it keeps you connected with The Ville. "Wellsville isn't what like many of us remember, but anyone who listens to country music knows as Jason Michael Carroll sings: 'It Might Not Be Much, But It's Where I Come From.' Take Care and God Bless."

Helen (Fellure) Franklin

Helen graduated from Wellsville High School in 1991. She then attended Ohio Valley Business College, leaving to care for her ill parents. In 1994, she had her first child, Nicholas (Nick), and was a stay at home mom until 1998, when she began training as an EMT. In 1999, her second child, Jocelyn was born. While working, she went back to college at Jefferson Community College, and obtained her EMT-Intermediate certification. She has worked in various areas of EMS, from small-town to large town. In 2001, Helen welcomed her third child, Sheridan. She then pursued her EMT-Paramedic certification, finally obtaining it in 2005 from Jefferson Community College.

In 2006, she married Charles. They now live in Wellsville, Ohio, and she is back to working in small-town EMS, which she loves.

These people will be doing some interviewing, monitoring, and posting blogs when it is their turn to post thier story. Granted we are not journalist. We are just people, like you, who want to know about what other peiople are doing, and you want to know as well.

I will let you know that all comments will be monitored and it will up to us what can go on and what will not. We want this to be something positive for everyone involved from us to you. We will not be dealing in politics, crime or any trash talking that can hurt or demean anyone. Those will not be tolorated. If you are going to post any comments you can post your name. We encourage it. But if you choose to remain anonymous you can do that too. This will be a blog friendly site.

So, if you think that this will be a site will be worth checking out, add it to your favorites or bookmark it. And please tell your friends about us.

And sometime in the future if you think that you want to be a part of this group, please contact me or any other of my administrators and we will look into adding more authors to run stories of the everyday People Of Wellsville.

Thank you and take care.