Whitehall tee-ball coach honored for 32 years of service

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 Messenger photo by Dianne Garrett
Whitehall resident David Stewart, left, receives  a proclamation from Council President Brent Howard at the August 7 meeting for his 32 years of dedication to the tee-ball program. 

One man’s 32 years as a dedicated volunteer to the children of Whitehall was recognized at the August 7 City Council meeting.  

David Stewart, a 1977 Whitehall Yearling High School graduate, started coaching tee-ball while still in high school.   

Mayor Lynn Ochsendorf remembered when he decided to retire one year, but was right back out there the next.  

"Lamby Lane Park is close to where I grew up, and I always watched the games.  You’ve done a great job.  Some parents work two jobs, and are not always available to their kids.  You’ve been there for them, and they will carry that with them always.  You have given a service beyond compare," offered Ochsendorf.

Council President Brent Howard remembered Stewart from when his own children, now 23 and 16, played tee-ball, and referred to Stewart as a local icon.  

Councilwoman Leslie LaCorte offered that he coached her son, and now coaches her grandson.  

"One of the things that has impressed me the most is that you surround yourself with children, and have none of your own.  You have made a difference in children’s lives.  Thanks from the LaCorte family for continuing some of what my dad started," said LaCorte.  

He father, John LaCorte, was the city’s first director of parks.

Stewart said his biggest rewards come to him in many ways, such as getting tapped on the shoulder at the grocery store by former players, now adults bigger than himself.  

He is proud of the accomplishments many have made, and the ongoing relationships he has maintained with the kids and their families.  

He shared that one of his players received a golf scholarship from Jack Nicklaus a few years ago, another is the athletic trainer for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and one just signed with the Baltimore Orioles during his junior year at The Ohio State University.  

In other business, state Representative James McGregor addressed council with an update from the House.  

He said that his assignment this year is Ohio’s energy future.  "We are trying to diversify our energy portfolio to make us more independent."  

He noted that Ohio has the best wind energy in the Great Lakes region, and the state is able to build out possibly adding a couple thousand turbines.  An aggressive bill is to be introduced in late September.  

The Legislature is on summer break, but his committee is analyzing all of the information from six months worth of hearings.  

McGregor pointed out that Whitehall has done a great job monitoring intersections, and checking the timing of traffic lights.  He said that millions of gallons of gas are wasted each year because of bad timing of lights throughout the state.  

There are areas where an intersection may involve multiple cities.  The representative said that municipalities must work together with traffic studies to find traffic management solutions.

McGregor asked council members to feel free to offer input.  He also encourages individuals that, whenever possible, to purchase energy-saving home appliances.

Council adopted an ordinance that will allow the mayor to enter into a contract with Language Line Services, Inc. for interpretation services over the phone.  

"This will help our officers and firefighters immensely when responding to emergencies where there are language barriers," said the mayor.   

The mayor will also be able to enter into a personal service contract with Matthew Shad to act as the interim development director until a new person is hired.  Shad left the office for the same position in Upper Arlington this month.

There will be a public hearing at the next council meeting on August 21 for a special permit for Justino Deleon to operate a sales installation and service facility for automotive electronics at 4252 East Main Street.  That meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m.

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