DAMASCUS- The Damascus Ruritan met June 14 at the Damascus Methodist Church for dinner, with 22 members and five guests present. David Denny lead the group in the singing of a verse of "America," after which member Pastor John Ryser asked the Lord's blessing. Guests included one of the club's scholarship recipients, Katelyn Skolosh, and her parents Joe and Carrie, state Rep. Craig Newbold and Carson Weingart, who played the piano.
After dinner Newbold spoke about some of his concerns with big government, both federal and state. He said he would like to see a change, returning more of governing back to the local level, and the state providing more funds for local government to manage their own local communities. He spoke about the Chesapeake boom (shale, oil and gas drilling) in Columbiana County, and that the county is not prepared for the influx and immediate needs that are here and will increase as the months go by. He said some of his concerns regarding the issue are housing and education for those that are in need of employment.
Following the speaker, the members conducted the business portion of the evening. President Dave Wingett installed three new members, Raphael Oliviers, placed on the Patriotism and Citizen Committee chaired by Heath Flickinger; Jay Lucas, placed on the Environment Committee chaired by Al Lutz; and Bill Orend, placed on the Public Service Committee chaired by Ernest Greenisen. The members welcomed the men into their fellowship. The club voted to give a monetary donation to 4H Camp Whitewood.
It was reported that the May 26 food drive collection was divided between the Bethel Church Food Pantry and the Acts 2 group at the Christian Church on Pine Lake Road. The May 26 rabies clinic brought in 107 cats and dogs, each receiving a rabies vaccination. Wingett reminded the members that the club is sponsoring a flag retirement ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Damascus Community Center. Club member Allan Milliken will be co-coordinator of the event. Boy Scout Troop 55, led by Paul Antram, will also participate, demonstrating several ways flags can be disposed of properly in an honorable way. The Damascus Volunteer Firemen will also be assisting in the program.
The club's annual family picnic at Quaker Canyon off Valley Road will be held at the July 12 meeting. The Mahoning Valley Teen Challenge Group will be our program for the meeting.
The club's representative for the American Red Cross Blood Drives provided an update on the Red Cross Nurses' continued strike since Feb. 21. The club has not had a blood drive due to the strike and voted not to host any American Red Cross Blood Drives during the strike. The club is investigating other means of collecting blood for those in need. The club has, along with Goshen Center and Beloit Ruritan, co-sponsored an American Red Cross Blood Drive for nearly 30 years as one of its community service projects.
The meeting closed with Wingett leading the members in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.