Railroads and bridges now line the walls of Belmont County Juvenile Court thanks to the work of regional artist Barbara Eiben.
Eiben, known to Belmont residents as an impressionist painter of the county’s landmarks, was commissioned by a judge who wanted to showcase the scenery that makes the county feel like home.
“We had this feeling that the courtroom was very sterile,” Eiben says. “We wanted to make it into something more personable while keeping with what makes this area important to the people who live here.”
As a young adult, Eiben wanted to go to art school at a time when it wasn’t common to pursue less traditional careers. She went to business school instead and has attended workshops and seminars in the years since to build her skills. Eiben has been painting murals, still lifes, and more for over 50 years now.
“You’re never done learning when you paint,” Eiben says, and centers her work on watercolors, acrylics and impressionistic styles. “I do it for myself – it’s an enjoyable release for me.”
Regional work is not new to Eiben, who has found that local buyers love to purchase paintings in the area where they’re from. Her past commission work includes the hallways of an office building in Pennsylvania and various city murals.
She also feels connected to a broader network of female artists in Appalachia. “We don’t have an art guild in St. Clairsville, so it can get pretty lonely,” she says. “But that’s why I go around to seminars in the area – the artist community is very relatable and supportive, and you can kick around different ideas with each other.”
Connectivity is an important facet of regional artistry. Kari Gunter-Seymour, who founded and curates the Women of Appalachia Project to gather local female artists together, finds great value
in the work of artists like Eiben. “Providing opportunities for females from the Appalachian region to exhibit their art, raw and unfiltered, allows us to openly celebrate our heritage and culture, throw open the doors, share our experiences and ideals, and challenge the stereotype,” Gunter-Seymour says.
Among regional female artists, Eiben distinguishes her work with thin yet visible brush strokes, carefully separated colors, and the impression of shifting light. But her long-standing appreciation of all art allows her to define it much more broadly: “Art is art whether you’re going to paint it on a piece of wood or canvas.”
The Ohio University hockey team takes the ice for a game at Bird Arena. A loud, booming voice roars throughout the historic building. “WELCOME TO THE ICE YOUR O-HII-OOO BOBCATS!!!”
That is the voice of 32-year-old Jacob Jakuszeit, public address announcer for the hockey team. Jakuszeit announces with passion and clearly enjoys what he does. But, outside the limelight, he has personal ambitions as well.
Jakuszeit says announcing was completely different for him when he originally started. At first, he would just show up and read a script given to him before the game. But as Jakuszeit became more comfortable on the microphone, he began to develop his own personal style.
Jakuszeit is a local superstar
During his ten years as the announcer, Jakuszeit has become quite the popular figure in Athens. People recognize his voice all throughout the town, even when he just grabs a bite to eat. “At first I would walk up and down the stands and no one knew who I was, but now people stop me all the time. I’ve had someone recognize me by my voice in the McDonald’s drive-thru as I am ordering a value meal. They asked me, ‘Are you the hockey announcer?” Jakuszeit says, trying to contain his laughter.
Jakuszeit’s love of hockey has a personal connection. There is a button on his desk with a picture of his brother, who passed away several years ago, played hockey in high school.
The hockey team appreciates the excitement Jakuszeit generates for home games. Just ask coach Hogan. “Oh man, he is the best!” Hogan says with a huge grin on his face. “He definitely brings energy for us. Jake is just a staple of the game day here.”
Jakuszeit’s interests extend beyond the ice
Though many residents in Athens know Jakuszeit for what he does on Friday and Saturday nights, he does much more away from the ice. For one, he works the graveyard shift at Alden Library at OHIO. He chuckles at the irony of working in a library where people are typically quiet, when he is most known for his loud, distinctive voice.
Additionally, Jakuszeit is involved with OHIO’s campus planning and the city of Athens’ comprehensive master plan. Within this role Jakuszeit evaluates budgets and prioritizes OHIO’s campus needs.
Jakuszeit’s interests throughout Athens come back full circle to his love of hockey. His involvement with OHIO’s master planning has allowed him to oversee potential plans for a new ice rink at the university. While there are no plans currently for a new ice arena, it has been identified as a future campus recreation need for the university.
Jakuszeit believes a new rink can benefit people all throughout Southeast Ohio, not just Athens. “It is a great community resource and a great academic resource. There are a lot of uses for [the rink] and there is a reason why it is still around after 60 years,” Jakuszeit says.
Jakuszeit has big goals for himself, but they are not on his mind when he is behind the microphone. Out on the ice, the Bobcats are in a battle. Jakuszeit intently watches the game. Suddenly, OHIO scores. Jakuszeit cues the goal music, sending the fans into a frenzy, and shouts, “O-HIII-OOOOO GOAL!”
For John Nicolozakes, wine started out as a hobby. He is a man of many talents, after all. Not only does he own and manage Cambridge’s only trucking company, but he also acts in commercials and short films.
This hobby, however, has transformed into a large-scale operation that features a wine shop, a pizzeria, and micro-brewery. Georgetown Vineyards is a romantic and feel-good destination in Guernsey County. It’s also a business that thrives on social consciousness and sustainability.
John began planting vines at its Georgetown Road location in 1998, and he continues to care for Georgetown Vineyards with the help of his wife Kay and their two children, Emma and Sam.
The strong family ties roll into the warm and lively spirit of the vineyard. A child carrying a pizza slice tottles behind his grandmother. Mindy, the family schnauzer, guards the entrance, anticipating the influx of people who arrive in the evenings to listen to bluegrass performers or smooth jazz. The vineyard’s rescue cat, Miles, prowls around the premises, eyeing customers as they pull out their phones to take pictures of his lion-esque haircut for Instagram and Facebook.
“Everybody comes here for the view,” says customer Jana Cowden, a Cambridge resident, as she places her glass of Chardonnay on the white patio table. “The music in the evenings also attracts a lot of people. My daughter has performed here.”
According to John, Emma spearheaded the business’s partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “I just happened to come across the EPA website and since we already had a wind turbine, I thought the partnership might be a good fit,” Emma states in an email.
The Green Power Partnership, created in 2001, is a program that educates and assists over 1,300 companies wishing to power their facilities with alternate energy forms and reduce their corporate carbon footprint.
Georgetown Vineyards has operated since 2009 using a 10 kW Bergey wind turbine, which took almost three months to install, Emma says. Two years later, they installed a 20 kW solar array, which consists of 90 panels.
These green-energy generators are used to power a pizzeria, a micro-brewery and a wine shop. Another 10 kW solar array powers the family’s small cabin on the outskirts of the vineyard. “We currently produce approximately 40,000 kilowatt-hours of green power annually, and use all of it!” Emma says.
The family business does more than utilize alternate energy in hopes of not operating wastefully. John explains that to water plants and flowers surrounding the vineyard, they reclaim water into cisterns attached to downspouts.
The rainwater collected is stored in tanks and used for the upkeep of the surrounding flora. “This water isn’t drinkable,” John says with a light chuckle. “But we don’t have to use city water. We have wells and rainwater.”
In fall 2015, Georgetown Vineyards opened its first brick oven, thus introducing its locally iconic wood-fire pizza. A year later, they installed an outdoor pizza oven to expand production. Guests gravitate toward “The Classic,” cheese and pepperoni on a thin crust.
Dry, medium-sweet, and sweet wines line the shop shelves. Georgetown Vineyards’ most popular wine, according to both John and Sam, is its Concord. Shipping of wine bottles is offered to 35 states.
Customers at Georgetown Vineyards are often first-time visitors, Sam says. “Sometimes you don’t pay attention to what’s in your backyard.” The business has its local customers, but people often travel from other counties to soak in the classic atmosphere and the expansive view of Cambridge, with its rolling hills and old churches peeking over the horizon. Sam even met customers visiting from France, who could enjoy a gleaming glass of Concord as the wind turbine towers ahead and the solar panels soak in the sun’s rays.