Vinton County Courthouse

The cross that sat atop the Vinton County courthouse was stood above the building for more than 40 years.

Editor’s note: We decided to bring back a longtime favorite, but with a twist. “Exhuming the Morgue” will highlight the top news stories from previous editions, pulled from our archives (which we lovingly call “the morgue”). This week, we’re taking a trip back to 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1995:

From the Dec. 4, 1980 edition of The Athens NEWS:

Then Athens Fire Chief Richard Cooley told The NEWS that fire inspections of rental and owner-occupied dwellings would not increase following multiple blazes in those kinds of structures. Private residences were inspected only at the request of the owner or the City Housing Code Enforcement Office. “A man’s house is his castle,” Cooley said. “We would have to be invited in.”

Athens County Prosecutor-Elect Mike Ward chose his future legal team. Athens County Assistant County Prosecutor Bob Toy would remain in office, and the Athens City Prosecutor at the time, Mike Westfall, would also join the team. Westfall told The NEWS that he considered the change in title as a step up in his legal career, despite his annual salary of $16,000 being a mere $200 than what he was previously making. “It’s not for monetary reasons that I’m going,” he said.

At the movies: “Somewhere in Time” and “Flash Gordon” played at The Athena Cinemas.

From the Dec. 5, 1985 edition of The Athens NEWS:

Athens County commissioners voted to impose a 3 percent hotel/motel tax, moving to also devote money gathered from the tax to visitor promotion. This vote effectively canceled Athens City Council’s attempt to raise additional operating funds by imposing the tax in addition to the 3 percent then collected. Joann Croxford, owner of the Old Coach Inn, told The NEWS that she disapproved of the tax, stating most of her patrons were construction workers or salespeople rather than tourists traveling the area.

Neighboring Vinton County saw the development of a civic organization to promote job growth in the county when it had among the state’s highest unemployment rates. The group, the Economic Development Cooperative, was the work of St. Francis center and a McArthur pastor and encouraged artisanship.

From the Dec. 3, 1990 edition of The Athens NEWS:

Culinary arts students at Hocking College whipped up a miniature gingerbread version of the City of Nelsonville, complete with Marzipan and a blue gooey Hocking River. The project was the idea of Doug Weber, instructor and chef, who admitted to The Athens NEWS that he took some creative liberties with the cartography of the sweet, small-scale city.

Spotted in the Athens Police “On the Record”: An employee of Cross Roads Convenience Store reported finding two computer monitors in a dumpster behind the store. The Athens Police Department reportedly checked both monitors into evidence.

From the Dec. 4, 1995 edition of The Athens NEWS:

Hey, another Vinton County story: more than 100 Vinton Countians gathered in front of the county’s courthouse to protest the slated removal of the building’s cross. The Christian Crossroads Association, a group of community members who really wanted to keep the cross atop their courthouse, organized the event. Previously, the county’s commissioners voted 2-1 to remove the cross from the courthouse after receiving a letter from The Ohio chapter of American Civil Liberites Union demanding its removal. Majority voters admitted to The Athens NEWS at the time that they both believed ACLU should “mind its own business” and voted for the cross’ removal to avoid litigation.

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