The recent visit of Appalachian Regional Commission Co-Chair Gayle Manchin (center) to Vinton County placed the spotlight on the needs of local education, water service and broadband availability. She is pictured here with University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College President Ryan Smith (right) and McArthur Rio Center Director Misty Napier (left).  (Photo Courtesy of University of Rio Grande Community College Center)
The recent visit of Appalachian Regional Commission Co-Chair Gayle Manchin (center) to Vinton County placed the spotlight on the needs of local education, water service and broadband availability. She is pictured here with University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College President Ryan Smith (right) and McArthur Rio Center Director Misty Napier (left). (Photo Courtesy of University of Rio Grande Community College Center)

It is a busy time of the year, as the fall activities begin this week at Vinton County High School (VCHS).

The fair has just ended, and soon the fall sports season will be at hand. The football team is under the direction of new coach Tyrone Carper and is practicing. The Vikings will open the season in an extended weekend of games. The Vikings will host the Unioto Shermans in the first game on Friday, Aug. 20. The game will be broadcast on WYRO (98.7 FM) and around the world on the Total Media App. I mentioned the region Thursday because Jackson will open the season with a rare Thursday night contest against Logan. So, Viking fans can see an extra game if they choose. Also, Wellston opens the season against Oak Hill, not Jackson, this year.

It should also be an exciting year for the volleyball team, as the squad is hoping for a deep tournament run. Last year, the season ended with a tournament loss to Thornville Sheridan. There are several seniors on the team who are wanting to end their high school careers with a bang. Cameron Zinn has made a verbal commitment to Wheeling University, and there may be several others who will compete at the collegiate level. We also have learned Zoey Keffer is close to committing to a college as well. Good luck to all the fall sports teams!

I started with sports because the community has lost a long-time teacher and coach, Bill McNickle, who had a long tenure with the schools (1964-1987) and was the VCHS Athletic Director as well as the baseball, golf and an assistant high school football coach. He taught health and physical education at VCHS as well as driver's education. He also taught at Wilton, was a U.S. Marine veteran, and loved to bowl and golf.

The McNickles were also community-involved, as his wife, Juanita, is a longtime member of McArthur Village Council. The Total Media family offers its condolences to the family and tip their hats to McNickle for a life well lived.

Thanks go to Vinton County Commissioner Mark Fout and Vinton County Sheriff Ryan Cain for taking us through the Sheriff's Office. It is a shame the historic building appears to be near the end of an era. As a history lover, I hope the building can be saved, but it appears it will be torn down after the department moves to a new site. However, an old house is not the answer for today's complex law enforcement operation.

It was nice to have ARC Co-Chair Gayle Manchin visit the county to discuss the need for water lines and broadband service in the county. I liked her comment about broadband being the new national interstate system and her concern for people not having potable water. It’s high time that quality-of-life issues need to be addressed and hopefully some new infrastructure will lead to business and job creation. Manchin also learned of the new Rio Center plans and the retail center being planned near the high school. It was truly a day when Vinton County put its best foot forward. Water service would help those who need it and would create nice building spots for future homes.

A tip of the hat also goes to the construction crews for doing a great job on the culvert replacement project in west McArthur. Many people have worked toward a solution, including Development Director Terri Fetherolf, the county commissioners, McArthur Mayor Steve Hammond, and the Ohio Department of Transportation. While the construction project has adversely affected the traffic flow this summer, the good news is that the new culvert is expected to last 75 years. 

Now, my favorite time of the year is coming up, as the leaves burst into their fall colors.