Local activities bring optimism

If you are still not convinced that there are plenty of positive things happening across our region, you need to take a look at several events planned for today.

The Follansbee Branch of the Brooke County Public Library will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. Across the river in Toronto, meanwhile, there is a dedication and open house scheduled at the elementary wing that has been added to Toronto Junior-Senior High School. And later in the day, the Franciscan University of Steubenville and the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce will be teaming up to present the fifth-annual Kuzma Community Day.

In Follansbee, officials will be marking 25 years of service at the branch library with an open house that will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Alexandria Schneider and her staff are looking forward to be able to demonstrate how the facility is able to meet the changing needs of a broad range of ages.

From a wide selection of fiction and nonfiction books, to story hours, to movies and magazines, to computers that are available for public use, the library remains an important resource.

The 42,281-square-foot addition to the school in Toronto brings all of the city’s students under one roof. Financed through a combination of $6 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission and a $4 million local match, the wing includes 22 classrooms, a cafeteria, a health center and a gym that will shared with the junior high students.

It will, as Superintendent Maureen Taggart pointed out, allow the district to better accommodate the needs of younger students and will be more energy efficient. Another plus, she added, was the addition to the junior-senior high school that was built in 2013 comes at no additional cost to taxpayers.

A dedication ceremony is set for 10 a.m., with the open house to follow until noon.

And, a little later in Steubenville, the university and the chamber will showcase the university’s sports programs while inviting members of the community to visit the campus.

At the center of the event are the men’s and women’s basketball games between the Barons and the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. In addition to watching the doubleheader at no cost — the men’s game starts at 2 p.m. and the women’s game starts at 4 p.m. — members of the community who attend will be able to remember the work of the late Hank Kuzma, who coached the then-College of Steubenville basketball team the small college national championship in 1958 and who also helped to raise millions to improve the campus and improve the quality of the education.

Scheduled to run between 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., the day is sponsored by Valley Hospice Inc., Trinity Health System, Encino Energy and the Carriage Inn of Steubenville.

Any one of these events scheduled for today is important to each community, but when you look at what each represents to the region as a whole, you can see that there are many people out there who are proud of what their towns, organizations and school have been able to accomplish — and they are reasons for optimism about the future.