It could all be a part of 2019 and beyond in Vinton County.

It was a long holiday season, plus much has been going on in Vinton County that I would like to touch upon. It should be an eventful year in Vinton County as the Invenergy LLC begins construction on its solar-power generation plant. Soon, more than 400 workers will be working at the sizeable 2,200-acre site near Zaleski toward the goal of producing renewable (green) energy. Several taxing entities in Vinton County will benefit from the project and hopefully can use the extra funds to make improvements and better serve the citizens.

It will also be interesting to see what businesses may join Campbell’s Market and a planned University of Rio Grande Community College Branch in the Cherry Lane Development in McArthur. Cherry Lane Development is being developed by Athens businessman and Vinton County native, Emmett Conway, Jr. A turn lane off U.S. Route 50 was completed in 2018, and the lots have been plotted. Rumors are flying around, but so far no ground has been broken on new projects.

It has been a while since this was mentioned, but more and more training and conferences are taking place in Vinton County. During a recent visit to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ new offices and training center at the site of the former CCC Camp near Zaleski, I learned several groups and organizations are already conducting meetings there. Also, the Ravenwood Castle, On Guard and Vinton County High School have hosted some regional-level events.

Is the necessary base set for a modern motel being built in Vinton County? Well, it is very probable now as the tourism numbers in Vinton County keep growing. Having some motel experience myself, I have learned most motel owners/operators like the idea of being near McDonald’s locations so the growing West McArthur/Vinton County High School area would likely be a highly desirable site for one.

A new event which features small race cars running through the forests involves almost all out-of-town money, and there are several more similar events which have been established. Maybe an organized barn dance or entertainment center will come to the county. I hear the Forget Me Knot event center the Smallwood Family started in Zaleski is doing very well with weddings and other social and business events. This is another example of an entrepreneurial spirit in the county.

This spirt is being displayed in the schools as students have been learning about entrepreneurship through a cooperative effort with Hocking College. All the schools in the county have been designated as Entrepreneurial Schools while the high school is starting a Young Viking Entrepreneurial Club. If people claim a family-owned business cannot survive, all they need to do is look at the many significant family-owned operations in the county.

One of those is Mullins Pizza that will soon have some significant changes. Owner JC Mullins is bringing an old-fashioned Ice Cream and Coney Shop to downtown McArthur. We will have more on this story in the near future.

A tip of the hat to Head Coach Rodd Bentley and the Vinton County Lady Vikings’ basketball team as the squad is currently carrying an 11-0 mark. The Lady Vikings have been on the road a while now, but it has not detracted from their play. The Lady Vikings are young but talented, and Coach Bentley keeps them on an even keel. Keep up with our sports department for coverage as the Lady Vikings enter the home stretch.

Finally, a couple of reminders from The Telegram Office: We have an E-Edition offering on our website to complement our print edition. This is a great way to follow local news and sports. People can cut pictures out or print them off if they like them.

Also, many of the Vikings’ games are broadcast on The Radio and also streamed on the Internet at Mixlr/WYRO 98.7 FM. Jeff Thacker and Bob Grillo are as close to your phone or computer and have listeners as far away as England. They call out many listeners who are in Florida and some in Columbus and Cincinnati. Grillo and Thacker, along with Viking football writer and sports broadcaster Jim Salyer, are part of our media family, and we hope you enjoy their broadcasts and stories.

Well, it’s time to get started in 2019 as the Wild Turkey Festival, Vinton County High School graduation and spring sports all loom, as well as what could be an exciting post-season basketball run. It's all ahead and Happy New Year to everyone.