HUR HERALD'S TOP CALHOUN NEWS STORIES FOR 2015 - Disappointments, Challenges, Improvements

(01/02/2016)

By Bob Weaver

The top positive story of 2015 is an accumulation of dozens and dozens of stories about Calhoun people who have come to the aid of their neighbors during tough times, through volunteerism, fundraisers or special efforts.

Calhoun's handfuls of emergency responders showing up to help citizens in time of need.

It is neighbor helping neighbor that makes life special in this rural community, including the outreach extended by community organizations and churches that still have open doors.

Although there is a wide perception that crime is on the rise, it is actually down, and Calhoun is one of the safest places to live.

Here, not in order, are some of the top news stories reported by the Hur Herald in 2015:

- CUNNINGHAM CHARGED WITH MURDER - State Police arrested Mark Allen Cunningham, 42, in December, charging him with the October, 2014 death of his significant other Pauline Lenette Headley, 59, of Grantsville.

Cunningham was charged with second degree murder, the criminal complaint saying the victim was involved in a domestic violence incident at her home, "The incident resulted in the death of the victim as a result of traumatic injuries, being beaten by Mark Cunningham, her co-habitating partner."

MARK CUNNINGHAM CHARGED WITH 2014 GRANTSVILLE MURDER - State Police Say Pauline Headley Died From Traumatic Injuries

- NICUT MAN CHARGED WITH MURDER - Adam Glen Couch, 54, of Nicut Road, was charged with the first degree murder of Rosedale man Delbert King, 50. Police said money could have been the reason for the murder.

King was dead on scene from single gunshot wound, when Gilmer EMS arrived with State Police saying they recovered the weapon at Couch's Nicut Road residence.

$220,000 BOND SET FOR ADAM COUCH - Nicut Rd. Man Charged With Murder Of Delbert King

- PROPOSED $100 MILLION COMPRESSOR STATION - Columbia Pipeline is proposing to build a large diameter gas Mountaineer Xpress transmission line across several WV counties, including the construction of three new transmission stations.

The Calhoun Commission has been in negotiations with Columbia regarding their proposal to construct a $100 million compression station in a remote area at the Calhoun/Ritchie line.

Despite filings that say the station will be built in Ritchie, the Calhoun Commission has been assured it will be built in Calhoun. The tax collections from the project could help the county's stagnant tax coffers, with some of the funds directly applied toward the $1.8 million school deficit.

COMMISSION PRESIDENT WESTFALL SAYS $100 MILLION COLUMBIA COMPRESSOR STATION WILL BE IN CALHOUN

- FRONTIER FIXES LONG-TIME BIG SPRINGS-FIVE FORKS PHONE PROBLEM - Following the Calhoun Commission's formal complaint with the WV Public Service Commission regarding Frontier telephones longtime problem with regular landline service to the Five Forks-Big Springs area, the company replaced antiquated equipment and restored service in 2015. The Calhoun Commission held public hearings, where a number of residents testified.

Frontier recently agreed to a rate reduction of their "high speed Internet" service to $9.99, with no guarantee of improved service.

UPDATE: RELIEF PROMISED FIVE FORKS-BIG SPRINGS FRONTIER PHONE CUSTOMERS - "Customers Are Victims, A Way Of Life, Tin Cans And String Service"

- YELLOW CREEK ROAD PROBLEM - A slip that closed Yellow Creek Road in April is yet to be fixed, with the WDOT saying they are letting bids to open the highway.

The closure has caused local residents to seek detours, often adding an hour to work travel time, and creating problems for emergency responders.

UPDATE: HIGHWAY OFFICIALS SAY YELLOW CREEK ROAD FIX IN PIPELINE - Commuters, School Buses, Emergency Responders Facing Challenges Over Closure

- MT. ZION DRIVE-IN THEATER GOES DARK - After 63 years the movie screen went dark at the historic Mt. Zion Drive-in Theater, a victim of changing technology from movie film to digital projection.

- CALHOUN $1.8 MILLION SCHOOL DEFICIT - Calhoun Schools are in a lurch over a $1.8 million deficit that built over a four year period, but managed to halt the problem and reduce the deficit by $100,000 this year.

There appears to be little help with the change of the state's school funding formula or the passage of an operational levy.

CALHOUN SCHOOLS CHIPPING AWAY AT $1.8 MILLION DEFICIT - Financial Picture Bleak For WV School Systems

- CALHOUN PARK'S DARK SKY PROJECT - Planning and development work continues on developing the park as a east coast destination for amateur astronomers to take advantage of a natural resource, the absence of artificial light.

CALHOUN NIGHT SKIES STARGAZING PARTY SET FOR CALHOUN PARK NOV. 14-15 - Visioning Workshop Scheduled

- CALHOUN IN SEVEN COUNTY STUDY FOR ATV TRAIL - The Rahall Transportation Institute has told the Calhoun Commission that a "Hatfield-McCoy" like ATV trail is being studied for Calhoun and six other counties.

PROPOSED ATV TRAIL ROUTED THROUGH CALHOUN

- CALHOUN'S BALANCED BUDGET - Calhoun Commission president Chip Westfall says despite declining resources and a stagnant tax base, the commission has continued to deliver a balanced budget, but not without challenges.

- COUNTY POLITICS HEATING UP - The county political season was already heating up for the 2016 election with a number of individuals saying they are going to throw their hat in the ring.

SUNNY CAL POLYTICKS WARMING UP FOR 2016 - Nickels Worth Of Prognostication

- NEW PLEASANT HILL $2.4 MILLION WATERLINE EXPANSION IMPROVEMENTS - PSD - Bids are being sought for a new Pleasant Hill Public Service District water line extension and improvement project. The overall project is $2.4 million, and is expected to extend water service to residents of Leafbank, Upper Back Fork, Leading Creek and Klipstine Road.

BIDS BEING LET FOR $2.4 MILLION PLEASANT HILL WATER PROJECT - Bid Announcement Released

- MAJOR EFFORT TO SAVE CABOT RECYCLING - Calhoun and regional communities continue major efforts to save Cabot Recycling Station in Grantsville from being closed.

Dominion Transmission exercised a cancellation clause in a 99-year-lease issued in 2002, with intentions to sell the property.

The company has not made a final decision regarding the appeal, although an eviction notice has been issued.

FUTURE OF CABOT RECYCLING STATION STILL UP IN AIR - Dominion Transmission Issued Eviction Notice, Community Pleading For Change Of Heart

- JAMES SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR MUD FORK SHOOTING - A Sutton man, Adam James, about 30, was sentenced one to three years in the state penitentiary following his conviction of attempt to commit unlawful assault.

The charges are related to the 2014 shooting of Mud Fork resident Robert "Rob" King, about 40, the man shot in the head. The shooting happened in a church parking lot.

JAMES SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR 2014 MUD FORK SHOOTING - Braxton Man Enters Plea Agreement

- MEN RECEIVE PRISON SENTENCES IN SEXUAL ABUSE CASES - Calhoun Circuit Court sentenced several men to prison in sexual abuse cases.

PATTERSON SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF MINOR

FORMER BRAXTON MAN DUNBAR SENTENCED TO PRISON OVER INCEST CHARGES

DOOLITTLE RECEIVES LONG PRISON SENTENCE IN SEXUAL ABUSE CASE

TOP NEWS STORIES PREVIOUS YEARS

TOP 2014 HUR HERALD CALHOUN STORIES - Tragedies To Improvements


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