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Leetonia will again host intern to help with coke ovens project

October 5, 2012
Morning Journal News

LEETONIA- The village will once again host an intern to help with the Cherry Valley Coke Ovens restoration project.

The village will host for one year Justin Charles Hite of Kinsman, Ohio, an OSM/VISTA volunteer through AmeriCorps. He is scheduled to arrive Nov. 19 and remain in Leetonia through Nov. 18, 2013.

According to Village Administrator Gary Phillips, Hite will help find and secure grants to support the master plan presented in May by Marin Braco, the graduate student who interned with the village last summer. Hite will also spend time researching the village's history for a booklet to include in the grant applications, he said.

According to Bill Merdich, chair of the Coke Ovens Advisory Commission, village administrators interviewed five candidates for the position. Hite's experience made him stand out, though, he said.

Hite earned a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009, specializing in archives, records management and document preservation and developing skills in grant writing, policy development and basic concepts of historic preservation. His work experience includes the Youngstown Historic Society Museum of Labor and Industry, where he created preliminary collection indexes, and the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, where he processed collections and created indexes.

"We're excited to continue on and keep going (with the renovation project)," Merdich said. "Justin [Hite] looks to be a huge help in requires small steps, but I'd rather take it slow and make it right."

The internship is part of a three-year program through the Appalachian Coal Country Team (ACCT), a team of community involvement groups in Appalachia. Cost of the program for the first year will be $3,500 plus mileage reimbursement and conference fees for the volunteer. The village must also provide office space, an advisor and affordable housing. The program may be completed in non-consecutive years if funds are not available for the subsequent two years.



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