Saturday, November 27, 2010

Editorial: Westinghouse played key role in Mansfield economy

News last week that the old Westinghouse factory would be torn down drew mixed emotion. But after an initial sigh of reflection passed, there was a general feeling that it’s past time to say farewell to this Mansfield landmark.

There is no word yet on what will take it’s place, but anyone with a sense of value will agree that removing this Goliath makes the acreage far more valuable.

News Journal columnist, Ron Simon, recently described the old factory as a “huge, humpbacked whale of a structure.”

And reporter Lou Whitmire said the building reminded a lot of people of better days, of high employment in the city.

During the 1940s the plant employed more than 8,000 people, and for a time was the largest employer in Mansfield.

The factory finally closed in 1990 after 50 years of producing Westinghouse firsts: the fully automatic electric range, an upright freezer and a frost-free refrigerator.

Thanks to Westinghouse and others, Mansfield became known as a major player in the world economy.

Times changed and one by one the factories closed.

Now, as developers remove these decaying structures, Mansfield once again finds itself with an opportunity to redefine itself in a leaner economy.

As we bid farewell to this landmark that through the years provided a living to so many in Mansfield, we remain hopeful that others will see Mansfield’s value.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Editorial: Mansfield-Miss Ohio breakup averted

One thing is certain, The Miss Ohio Scholarship Program is no stranger to drama.

During the last two months, Mansfield residents waited for the decision on the future of the program.

Would it stay in Mansfield, where it has seen a successful partnership for the last 36 years, or would it be wooed away by a competitive bid from the city of Zanesville?

Community leaders met with the Miss Ohio Scholar-ship Board of Directors on Wednesday and came up with an agreement that would keep the program in Mansfield for at least another three years.

Zanesville Mayor Butch Zwelling has been working hard for the last few years to make his city the new home for the pageant.

He claims he was offering The Miss Ohio Scholarship Program almost $400,000 in in-kind donations and cash during the next three years.

It wasn’t enough.

Lee Tasseff, director of the Mansfield-Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau, impressed the board by showing how the program would benefit from the city’s partnership.

Tasseff went through the organization’s wish list — which is still top secret — point by point.

“We said they were all doable,” Tasseff said. “If they’re sticking around, we intend for it to be a partnership.”

Going forward, that partnership will be the key to the success of the program in Mansfield.

Like other headline events throughout the year, the program has been used as a way to spotlight our city, bring in visitors and spread the message that Mansfield remains a major player in Ohio’s economy.

The program itself, however, isn’t much of an economic driver, but it would be a serious blow to Mansfield’s psyche to lose the show.

We’re glad to know that we have community leaders who recognize its value and were willing to fight to keep the program in Mansfield.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Editorial: MedCentral gives area bragging rights

Although Richland County has been hit as hard as any community from the economic downturn, we still have plenty to brag about.

Near the top of the list of assets has to be MedCentral.

The announcement this week that MedCentral Health System’s cardiac catheterization laboratory ranked third in Ohio and is in the top 5 percent in the nation for coronary intervention procedures is something the entire community can be proud of.

“We didn’t go about this to achieve awards but to improve health care and heart care,” said Dr. Gregory Eaton, director of cardiovascular medicine.

Eaton went on to describe MedCentral as “a hidden jewel” in the Mansfield area.
He’s right.

There are many factors that determine a community’s livability. The ability to take care of our own is vital to our success and future growth. The men and women who provide MedCentral’s top rated cardiac services take pride in their work and deserve the recognition they receive.

As one of the biggest employers in the county, MedCentral draws many other peripheral businesses to the area. The compounding economic effect would be impossible to measure.

“The bottom line is those facilities that can provide high-quality care at low cost would be an attractive venue to attract new businesses,” Eaton said.

This is the third year MedCentral’s heart surgery program earned a five-star rating by HealthGrades for both coronary bypass and valve replacement surgery.

However, it is the first time the hospital has earned a five-star rating for the treatment of heart failure.

We congratulate MedCentral for its achievement.