Cultivating Success in the Ohio Valley
There’s a sense of optimism in the Ohio Valley’s air, as steel jobs are returning, longtime businesses are thriving and our communities continue to be strengthened through the efforts of many local organizations.
It’s a new feeling for many, as the area has suffered through economic and population decline over the past few decades.
It’s our hope that a corner has been turned, and the area will provide new opportunities to stop the outward migration of the coming generations.
That’s the approach we took with our annual progress edition inside today’s newspaper – six sections That explore the many successes taking place in the Ohio Valley.
We look at energy and industry – two topics that, just a few years ago, didn’t have much in the way of success stories.
But now, steelmaking has returned to Mingo Junction, as JSW Steel has restarted the electric arc furnace there and has plans to create up to 1,000 jobs over the next year. St. Clairsville-based Murray Energy Corp. remains the nation’s largest underground coal mining company, and signs remain overly positive that PTT Global Chemical America, the company assessing a site in Dilles Bottom for a $10 billion ethane cracker plant, could be making a positive announcement in the coming months.
The natural gas industry also continues to provide for thousands living and working in the region.
Those companies need innovation to grow, and that’s where operations such as Touchstone Research Laboratory come into play. There also are many others utilizing the latest technology and good old-fashioned ingenuity to help stabilize and grow the area’s economy.
We also look at successes in education and health care, two areas of continued strength in the Ohio Valley.
Public education locally remains among the best in West Virginia, with Wheeling Park High School leading the way. One of the stories we highlight this year is Park’s Speech and Debate team, which has captured 39 consecutive state championships in West Virginia.
We also look at The Linsly School, and how educators there are using advanced student counseling techniques to help prepare youngsters for college and beyond. Current Linsly seniors – 100 percent of whom have been accepted into a four-year college – take part in practice essay writing, interviews and other skill-set builders to help prepare them for college and beyond.
Health care is growing in the region, as Wheeling Hospital and Reynolds Memorial Hospital – an affiliate of WVU Medicine – offer the latest in technological advances for local residents.
And health care isn’t just about a facility, it’s about taking personal responsibility for your well-being. Getting fit at the J.B. Chambers YMCA can lead to participating in this year’s inaugural Tough as Nails Urban Challenge, set for May 26 in Wheeling. The event is part of the larger Ogden Wellness Weekend, which also includes the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic on May 25 and the Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour on May 26.
Then, we delve into businesses and communities, offering success stories from within those topics.
In all, it’s 72 pages of information on how the Ohio Valley is remaking itself.
“It’s great to see so many positive stories taking place throughout our region,” said John McCabe, managing editor of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register. “We believe the information we’ve gathered will help each of you to be better informed about all of the good things happening locally. We’re excited to present this to you, our readers, and hope you find it useful in your daily lives.”