The cold weather has made a busy man out of Vinton County Superintendent of Schools Rick Brooks as he was forced to cancel school all last week and unintentionally extend the holiday break. It is a tough job in a countywide district to decide whether to hold school every day. Certainly, Vinton County is not alone in closing schools and it has been a rough winter for all superintendents in the area. Hopefully, the school doors can swing open this week and the kids can get back to the business of learning.
The low temps, though, have not kept the Lady Vikings from playing red-hot basketball as they are still undefeated at 10-0. Coach Rodd Bentley has directed the team well and county sports fans would love to see a long tournament run. They are scheduled to travel to Jackson on Thursday to play the Ironladies.
The new McArthur police vehicles are nice and will be a much needed improvement for the officers. Police Chief Matt Kight stated some equipment has been ordered and will be in soon. Kight also reminds residents they have until the 31st to make sure their three-inch house numbers are up and clearly visible from the street. He and Mayor Kim Wortman remind residents if they do not comply by the deadline, they will be warned by letter and eventually brought into the court.
The search is also on in Zaleski for a convenience-store operator. Mayor Craig Walkerow and the council members have sent pamphlets to different operators and, so far, have had no luck. The mayor has acquired Lake Hope Visitors Guide information to show operators the potential for trade there is and council will be trying again. The village is 10 miles from the nearest gas pumps and local residents are always saying someone from out of the area is looking for gas.
The development of the new Cherry Hill Lane Retail Center is coming along as a new road has been built into it. So far only the new Campbell's Market has opened, but more lots are being cleared. The next addition is set to be a new University of Rio Grande Community College Campus. This new building will be a great addition to the community and give more local people the chance to attend college at home. Perhaps few people understand rural access better than University President Dr. Michelle Johnston. The Mississippi native grew up on a farm and once had a championship animal at the state fair. Educational access led her to a successful life and she wants that for Vinton County citizens. We plan to have an update on the center's development soon.
Well, with 2018 arriving we have many topics to watch. Certainly two of those are the proposed solar-generation facility the Chicago-based Invenergy company is interested in building near Zaleski, and hopefully the expansion of broadband service in northern Vinton County. Of course, the focus of these projects is jobs. However, the new Internet signal could also boost the tourism industry which is now impacting the county's economy with a steady rise in sales and lodging taxes. Also, J.C. Mullins is opening a new eatery soon and we will see if someone develops the new large lot on North Market Street.
Wanted to end by saying prayers for former VCHS student/athlete Alec Boothe. He is in a Columbus hospital with very serious injuries as the result of a car crash in Ross County. Godspeed, son.