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Dinner promotes awareness

October 31, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

WINTERSVILLE - The Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District honored those who helped promote agriculture, watershed awareness, forestry and economic development at its 69th-annual meeting and banquet held Monday at St. Florian Hall.

Jodee Verhovec, board chairman, started the evening with a presentation of photos taken in the county and submitted by past photo contestants from 2005-11.

"There is beauty here in Jefferson County. We need to appreciate it," she said.

Article Photos

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE — Greg Lipps, an Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife herpetologist, received a distinguished service award at the Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual meeting held Monday at St. Florian Hall for surveying and studying county watersheds and his interest in sustaining the Yellow Creek Watershed programming. On hand were, from left, Maggie Corder, Yellow Creek Watershed coordinator; Lipps; and Dick Franckhauser, JSWCD treasurer.
-- Esther McCoy

Verhovec, incumbent, and Marie Elizabeth "Beth" Dougherty were candidates contending for a JSWCD supervisor position in the agency's election.

Verhovec, seeking her third term, has been involved with many conservation practices on the Smithfield family farm where she and her husband, Julius, raise Charolais cattle.

Dougherty and her husband, Shawn, raise a variety of livestock on a farm in Island Creek Township and have participated in pasture walks and implementing rotational grazing practices. The couple also participated in the Eastern Gateway Farmers' Market sponsored by the JSWCD.

Chad Amos, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Soil and Water Resources program specialist, announced Verhovec as the winner and she will remain on the board.

John and Cathy Cavanaugh were named conservation farmers of the year. They recently purchased a 160-acre farm in Salem Township and came to the JSWCD for planning guidance. Conservation and grazing plans were written and a managed grazing system was installed.

"Their enthusiasm and passion for natural resources and conservation send a strong message to others," Wendee Zadanski, natural resources specialist, said in the presentation.

One of the three distinguished service awards presented went to Franciscan University of Steubenville, with Mike Florak, the university's director of community development, accepting on behalf of the university and as a member of the Trails and Greenways Task Force. As members of the trails and greenways committee, employees have been involved in the development of walking and biking trails throughout the county and with clean-up efforts on established trails.

The administration supports the Academy of Life-Long Learning, promoting educational opportunities relating to natural resource topics for seniors. The university's student interns assisted businesses and agencies with knowledge and resource skills, and three creative writing majors helped improve the district's web site in the Yellow Creek Watershed Action Plan document.

Greg Lipps received a distinguished service award for championing the quality of the county's streams and continuing to enhance and protect them. He worked for more than five years in watersheds of the county, surveying and studying them as part of a project with the state's Division of Wildlife and has garnered interest in sustaining the Yellow Creek Watershed programming.

Maggie Corder, Yellow Creek Watershed coordinator, said "He was always interested in snakes and spiders, and his interest led him to programming at the Cincinnati Zoo, fostering his desire to work with wildlife."

Frank Corona, key collaborator in the development of the Fernwood State Forest Outdoor Days program, received a distinguished service award from Irene Moore, district administrator. He assisted with the organization of an education advisory committee and together they designed an outdoor education program that has hosted more than 16,000 students since 1989.

After 23 years with the state's Division of Forestry, he recently retired but was recognized for seeing the void in outdoor education and credited for taking initiative.

Jeremy Scherf, ODNR service forester, announced the winner of the "Biggest Sycamore Tree," the third-annual contest for Ohio's Big Tree Program. Fred Posgai submitted the biggest tree, located at the home of Ann Lengyel in Dillonvale.

It stands 126 feet, has a crown spread of 102.5 feet and is 16.9 feet in circumference, totaling 354.4 points.

Sherry Finney, vice chairman, announced photography contest winners. Rhonda Cooper was the winner in the insect picture category; with Ariana Novak, going green; and Gary Bush, local barns.

(McCoy can be contacted at

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