Mark and Margit Chevalier

Mark and Margit Chevalier were named Conservation Cooperators of the year at the Vinton County Soil and Water Conservation District annual meeting on Sept. 26.

Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, Oct. 2 newspaper on Page A6.

LAKE HOPE — The Vinton Soil and Water Conservation District hosted its 73rd annual meeting, which included conservation awards, presentations and the election of Rick Rozzo and re-election of Bradley Carter to the District’s Board of Supervisors.

The event was held at the Lake Hope Lodge on Thursday, Sept. 26.

Rozzo was winner of the “Forest Conservation Cooperator of the Year” award in 2018 and owns more than 40 acres in the Zaleski area. Carter was elected to the Soil and Water Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors in 2016 and currently serves as the vice-chairperson. Anthony Mullins also vied for a supervisor role.

This year’s Conservation Cooperators were Mark and Margit Chevalier. The Chevaliers hope to open the doors of their winery by the end of this year.

The Conservation Business of the Year was McArthur Tire, represented by Todd Graham. The 2019 Conservation Forestry Award went to the Art Martin family, who own a tree farm in Vinton County, and the Conservation Educator Award went to Megan Macke, who coordinates Vinton County Middle School’s Jr. Beta Club.

The Dedication to Conservation Award was given posthumously to Barbara Keyes, who passed away earlier this year. Keyes was a supervisor for the Soil and Water Conservation District Board and received the Conservation Forestry Award in 2012. Her family accepted her award.

The annual photo contest winners were also announced that evening. A total of 34 photos were entered into the contest, and three winners were recognized. Taking home third place was Robin Pratt; second, Bert Stewart; first, Lisa Caudill.

The guest speaker of the night was ODNR’s Division of Forestry Chief Deputy Greg Guess. Guess updated the crowd on happenings at the Division of Forestry in Southeast Ohio and Vinton County specifically. One highlight Guess pointed to was the restoration of the saw mill in Zaleski.

Dave Runkle, the county forester who leads the SWCD office, gave the conservation district’s Year in Review. He emphasized educational efforts by the district, including Arbor Day, where more than 8,000 seedlings were given to students in and out of Vinton County. Runkle also recounted his recent experience extinguishing forest fires in California.; @sydneydawes_95

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