HUR HERALD NEWS 2002 - A Few Interesting Highlights From The Year That Was


(01/01/2002) Police are looking for a six-foot male who robbed an Arnoldsburg convenience store early Sunday morning. The lone store clerk was held-up by a man dressed in camouflage clothing, using a .45 automatic pistol or stainless steel Beretta. Police said he had a two to three day beard growth and was wearing a camo baseball cap. It was the first armed hold-up in the county in current memory. He was caught a short time later.


(01/06/2002)Barnes Run resident Everett "Nicky" Kerby, 18, a passenger in a friend's car, was critically injured in Nashville Friday. The Kerby youth is in a coma, suffering severe head trauma, a collapsed lung, a broken shoulder, a ruptured spleen and multiple other injuries, according to a family members. Kerby was hospitalized for an extended period and later went to a re-hab, and he has recovered.

UNDERWOOD ARRESTED FOR BAD CHECKS - Former Teacher's Bail Set At $1,750

(01/12/2002) Former Calhoun High School teacher Donald Underwood has been arrested in Wirt County for a series of bad checks issued to Dick's Market and Hill's Exxon of Elizabeth.

Magistrate Court records indicate Underwood has been charged with sevencounts for bad check writing. Bail has been set at $1,750 and a trial date is to be set. Underwood had earlier been charged with a "scam" on Calhoun Banks, violated terms of a work release to teach at Calhoun High School by going shopping in Marietta, Ohio. He was removed from his teaching job.


(01/15/2002) At least eleven Braxton County citizens have reportedly been "targeted" by the West Virginia State Police in a memo issued to law enforcement agencies by Sgt. John Bonazzo, who was transferred last fall from the Grantsville detachment to Braxton, his former assignment. The Braxton County prosecutor said the "target list" is legal, although Bonazzo received a short suspension by the State Police, apparently linked to the issue.


(02/02/2002) The white powder scare at Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center turns out to be a harmless substance, according to Dr. Bob Rentschler, principal of the facility located on Rt. 5 near the Gilmer-Calhoun line. Rentschler received the report Saturday.


(02/04/2002) Seventy hourly workers at Spencer's B. F. Goodrich plant have been told their jobs will end by mid June. "The notice was posted on the bulletin board Tuesday," according to Russett resident Michelle Morrell, an employee of the company. About half of Goodrich's 147 employees are from Calhoun County. The Spencer Goodrich operation, according to the company, is being moved to Phoenix.


(02/20/2002) A special prosecutor is being appointed to investigate State Policeman Doug Starcher for alleged perjury in a Calhoun drug case. Starcher, a senior trooper assigned to the Grantsville detachment for several years, gave sworn testimony to a grand jury in January, 2001, which led to the indictment and year-long prosecution of Chloe resident Kelly Mace. The officer said an illegal substance was found at the Mace residence, but it was never produced during proceedings.

CALHOUN-GILMER PHONE BARRIERS GO DOWN - Local Calling Begins Friday For Many Customers MAN INJURED IN TREACHEROUS PLUNGE - Lowell Bunch Swims From Icy Steer Creek

(02/28/2002) A Calhoun man Lowell Bunch was injured Thursday morning when his car plunged over a steep "up and down" hillside at Russett, his vehicle landing on its top in Steer Creek, according to Deputy Sheriff Carl Ballengee.

He was pulled and carried by GVFD and EMS personnel, up the hill in a rescue basket. Bunch managed to swim from his partially submerged vehicle, crawling to the bank. He was taken to Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center. He recovered from the incident.

SMOLDERING FIRE DAMAGES MT. ZION RESIDENCE - Heavy Damage To Frank And Jeannie Smith House

(03/13/2002) A smoldering fire erupted to the outside of a residence on Mt. Zion Ridge, doing extensive damage to part of the dwelling Wednesday morning.

The ranch-style residence of Frank and Jeannie Smith and their four children, caught fire shortly after the family went to Parkersburg to shop.

CHLOE WOMAN DEAD AT SCENE - Osterhoudt Vehicle Struck By Left-Of-Center Driver

(3/2002) A Chloe, Calhoun County woman was killed about 5:30 p.m. Sunday in a head-on collision at Leatherbark on U.S. 33-119, west of Liberty Hill.

Dead is Virginia Pauline Osterhoudt, 48, formerly of Roane County. The deceased woman's husband Douglas, was life-flighted by HealthNet to Charleston Area Medical Center were he was described in serious condition.

A neighbor heard the crash and saw flames coming from the Osterhoudt van, which landed near a creek bed. Virginia Mylott took a fire extinguisher and neighbors put out the blaze. Both vehicles were totaled.

The couple's young granddaughter was taken to Roane General Hospital by Calhoun EMS, and was later transferred to CAMC.

The Osterhoudt's van collided with a pick-up truck, reportedly driven by a Braxton County man. He was taken to Roane General, where a hospital spokesperson described his condition as serious. They said he was being transferred to CAMC for further treatment.

FLOOD WATER CLOSES HIGHWAYS - Southern Calhoun Hardest Hit, U. S. 119 And Alvord Section Flooded In Roane

(03/20/2002) Heavy rains fell on already saturated ground in parts of West Virginia during the night causing flooding. Southern Calhoun experienced the greatest rainfall, causing the West Fork of the Little Kanawha to flood and roads to be closed. Water rushed into Millstone from Sand Ridge to create backwater at the Arnoldsburg "Y" where State Route 16 was covered by water.

Water was over Route 16 at several locations up the West Fork from Arnoldsburg during most of the day. Water surrounded the "Y Mart" store and service station during most of the day, but did not enter the nearby restaurant. A mud slide damaged Rick's Part's near the Speedy Mart during the early morning hours, and water surrounded the Arnoldsburg Elementary School, but did not enter the building.


(03/22/2002) The Calhoun Commission has tenuously prepared a budget for 2002-03 at a special meeting held this week, but not without suffering through mandated costs from the State of West Virginia. Commission President Larry McCallister says "It is a challenging task."

The Commission was advised they are expected to pay $44,995 for telecommunications, computer, maintenance and support services to the State Tax Department for the Assessors Office.

The county is currently paying other mandated charges to the State of West Virginia for computer lines and other fees of about $15,000. The costs for the "state support" has risen for the Assessor's Office from $30,989 last year.

The cost to run the Assessor's Office, linked to Charleston is reaching $60,000 a year.

The State Supreme Court is submitting a bill to the Commission for $8,383 for an audit of the magistrate court.

INDIAN" CUSTOMS REMOVED FROM 4-H CAMPS - Rituals Politically Incorrect For Native Americans

(03/24/2002) Political correctness prevails at the WVU Extension Service and 4-H programs around West Virginia. After 80 years the "Indians" have been removed from 4-H rituals and traditions, based on complaints by Native American groups. 4-H camps throughout the organizations history have centered on the creation of Seneca, Delaware, Mingo and Cherokee tribes, and numerous "indian like" rituals around campfires.

Larry Cote, Associate Provost for Extension Services, says "Our program and the Native American customs we have used are well-intended and well-meaning," but they are found offensive to that group.

WAGONER KILLED IN BIG BEND COLLISION - Others Life-Flighted To Charleston

(03/25/2002) Calhoun had a second highway fatality within a week yesterday. Killed in a head-on truck collision on Route 5, west of Big Bend, was Rodney D. Wagoner, 44, of Carroll Road.

His son, Brian Wagoner, about 20, was driving the vehicle. He was life-flighted from the scene by HealthNet I and taken to Charleston Area Medical Center, with multiple trauma.

The driver of the other vehicle Melvin Shaffer, Jr. was taken to Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center by Calhoun EMS, where he was later transported by chopper to Charleston Area Medical Center.

TRUE TEMPER REDUCING 80 WORKERS - Affects Regional Counties

(03/29/2002) Ames True Temper, known locally as the "shovel plant," is laying off workers, including several from Calhoun and area counties. Early reports indicate about 80 workers have been receiving slips from the Parkersburg plant during the past 24 hours, and workers are expecting more to come. Company executive David Randolph declined to return numerous phone calls to verify the nature of the layoff, although an employee told The Hur Herald, the company is likely to leave the area.

CALHOUN WOMAN SAID TO HAVE FLESH-EATING DISEASE - Condition Guarded, Health Workers Say Contagious Risk Is Low

(04/08/2002) A Calhoun woman is in the Pittsburgh Burn Center diagnosed with what some health officials are calling Necrotizing Fasciitis, a bacterial disease often associated with Group A Streptococcus. The official confirmation of the disease has not been made, with the Center for Disease Control being contacted in Atlanta.

The disease, if validated, attacks the subcutaneous soft tissue of the body, rapidly spreading. Tissue becomes gangrenous and has to be surgically removed. Massive doses of antibiotics are used to treat the problem.

MAGISTRATE JOHNSON YET TO BE CHARGED -Prosecutor Schulenberg Cannot Comment, Seven Months Have Lapsed

(04/12/2002) Kanawha County special prosecutor Rob Schulenberg says he cannot comment on the status of a case reportedly being prepared against former Calhoun Magistrate Steve Johnson. Johnson resigned last October after alleged improprieties surfaced in his office accounts. No charges have been filed against Johnson since the issue surfaced about seven months ago.

"I am not at liberty to talk about it," said Schulenberg, whose appointment was requested by Judge Thomas Evans III, after Calhoun prosecutor Tony Morgan filed papers to recuse himself from the case.

ATV CRITICALLY INJURES ARNOLDSBURG MAN - Accident Monday Evening On Euclid-Nicut Road

(04/15/2002) An Arnoldsburg man was "critically injured" in a 4-wheeler accident on Euclid-Nicut Road Monday evening. Danny McKown of Route 2, Arnoldsburg was reported to be traveling behind his son, both on four-wheelers, when he apparently lost control, according to Deputy Sheriff Ron Bandy. Calhoun EMS transported McKown to Roane General Hospital, where he was being transferred to Charleston Area Medical Center by HealthNet chopper at 8 p.m., according to Roane General. His son, Mike McKown, was not transported to the hospital.


(04/23/2002) The relatively new multi-million dollar army reserve center at Big Bend may be closed, although there is no official confirmation. Off-the-record sources say the decision has been made to close the center which houses the 305th Military Police unit.

Calls to company officers and officials have not been returned since last Friday, and a call to Sen. Robert Byrd was unanswered yesterday because his office was closed.

The reason for closing was reportedly linked to a lack of new recruits within a 50 mile radius of the armory, but a local source said recruiters have paid little attention to recruitment for the unit in recent years.

NEW EMERGENCY SERVICES BUILDING PROPOSED - Locations To Be Discussed At Public Meeting

(04/24/2002) A public hearing has been scheduled for input regarding the location of a new emergency services building, which could house Calhoun's 911 Center, the Calhoun Emergency Medical Services and the Office of Emergency Services. Grants funds could underwrite the construction of a building, replacing the current building at Mount Zion, which structurally has problems and is unlikely to meet standards for an emergency service center.

HUR HERALD BANNED ON EDUCATION NET - State Department Says Filter Program Declares It Porn

(04/30/2002) The Hur Herald has been banned by the State Department of Education on the net, saying their filtering program has indicated it is a pornographic site. School students, employees and personnel will no longer be able to read The Herald on any classroom or administrative office computers in the 55 counties.

The Department of Education implemented a filtering program in December, 2001, to protect students from pornographic material. The filtering program targeted The Hur Herald in the last few days. The filters have been required by federal law, although the West Virginia Library Association stated last week such programs do not work. The American Library Association and the ACLU have filed a suit over the issue. Calhoun High School principal Roger Propst said "We are mystified why it is blocked. We have asked the State Department to put The Hur Herald back on-line." The County School Board Office also spoke with the State Department of Education regarding the matter, defending the content of The Herald.

Phyllis Justice, Director of the Office of Instructional Technology, with the State Department of Education said the problem is linked to The Herald being on an out of state server which may also serve a pornographic site. She has indicated pornographic material could possibly be accessed by a computer diagnostic tool.

The State Department of Education declined to correct the problem.

VIRUS STRIKES CALHOUN SCHOOL COMPUTERS - Sending Infected E-Mails, System Is Shut Down

(04/30/2002) The widely known "Klez" virus has struck the Calhoun County school system causing serious problems, according to Computer Technician Chad Bartlett. Bartlett worked through Monday attempting to correct problems. He said the virus causes programs to close, affects the function of icons and "Who knows what else." He could not explain how the virus got in the system since it has Norton Anti-Virus Protection.

The virus is being spread from the schools computers and server, attaching to the address book and sending e-mails to hundreds of other computers. Bartlett said he closed down the entire system yesterday.

Dozens of area residents reported receiving infected e-mails.

WESTBROOK HEALTH CLOSES CALHOUN OFFICE - Agency Suffering Financial Problems

(05/03/2002) Westbrook Health is pulling mental health services from Calhoun County. The facility at 2 Hospital Drive is being closed effective May 31, according to an announcement by County Director, Lois Holloway. Westbrook, not unlike several mental health centers in the state, is facing critical financial problems. Many of the services provided in rural, low-populated and under served counties are being discontinued around the state, although critical services are also at risk in urban areas.

COMMISSION CANDIDATE PLEDGES SALARY - Candidates Comment On Gilbert's Philanthropy

(05/03/2002) The competitive race between four Democrat candidates for Calhoun Commission is stirring some interest in the county. Perhaps of most interest is the candidacy of local dentist Lynn Gilbert, wife of James Morris of Calhoun Realty, the Calhoun Chronicle and the Morris oil and gas interests. The Morris family has been well-known for their political activity in the county for many years, and more recently their employment of Delegate Bill Stemple.

Calhoun Commission candidate Lynn Gilbert (Democrat) told The Hur Herald she is donating the net value of her commission salary to worthy causes, if elected. The gross amount of the salary, which will be $16,500 annually starting with newly elected officials, is $99,000 over the six year term. Adjusted for taxes and deductions, Gilbert's contribution could be about $70,000.

"I am giving the yearly salary, spreading it out in the beginning to fire departments. I hope to get a group of people together to find the right places to donate the money," she said.

The current members of the Calhoun Commission, McCallister, Barr and Weaver, declined a $1500 pay increase offered by the West Virginia Legislature.


(05/04/2002) A Parkersburg plant, Ames True Temper, originally called "The Shovel Plant," is closing one of its two production facilities. At least 180 people will loose their jobs, several in the immediate region. Workers will lose their jobs by June 2. The plant being closed is called the No. 2 facility.


(05/05/2002) PUBLIC ACCESS DENIED - It has been a trying week for The Hur Herald, from being declared a pornographic connected site, to fighting viruses to another encounter with the West Virginia State Police, where access was denied. The Hur Herald was angrily ordered to leave the scene of an accident yesterday by State Trooper Fred Hammack. Hammack indicated photographing of his "crime scene" was illegal. He ordered us to leave. We felt the scene, on a public road, was under the jurisdiction of emergency workers, and was not a "crime scene," described as "plain view access" under law.

While standing at a distance on private property in a meadow for about fifteen minutes, Trooper Hammack approached and said we should not be photographing dead bodies, juveniles or victims of wrecks, and we were "liars," referring to an earlier conversation regarding taking pictures of an accident scene.

STATE POLICE HAVE BANNED HUR HERALD SAYS TROOPER - Trooper Hammack Says Charleston Gave Directive

(05/07/2002) The West Virginia State Police are reportedly controlling access to "plain view" accidents or situations in Calhoun County, according to Trooper Fred Hammack. Hammack told four Calhoun emergency personnel, they (local State Police) had received a letter from Charleston saying not to allow The Hur Herald on their scenes.

He said The Herald was sent a letter advising them of the directive. The Herald received no such letter.

"This is the ultimate form of censorship," said Editor Bob Weaver. "If they are doing this to us, can you imagine what they are doing to our citizens."

Trooper Hammack told personnel from Calhoun's 911 and a local fire chief, The Hur Herald "was not classified as a newspaper" because it is on the internet.


(05/09/2002) Twenty Calhoun High School students received full-tutition PROMISE Scholarships at a ceremony yesterday. Secretary of Education and the Arts, Kay Goodwin, presented the grants asking Calhoun kids to fulfill their "dreams at home, West Virginia needs for you to develop your careers here."


(05/10/2002) Former Calhoun High School teacher and martial arts expert, Donald Underwood, 49, has been arrested in Marietta, Ohio on two counts of theft by deception. The Washington County Sheriff's Department said the Elizabeth, West Virginia man was charged at 10:30 a.m. Monday.

Earlier, Underwood had been placed in the Wirt County jail on a problem relating to a check processed by Calhoun Banks. He then violated the conditions of his release to work, teaching at Calhoun High School. He was later fired by the Calhoun County Board of Education.


(05/12/2002) Major D. R. Searls, after a Freedom of Information request, has advised The Hur Herald, "The requested document is not known to exist in our agency."

Hammack claimed a letter or memo was sent to him or his agency saying not to allow The Hur Herald at State Police scenes. He also said a copy of the directive was sent to The Herald. He said the matter had been researched by their (State Police) lawyer

. 5/5/02 SUNDAY HUNTING GOES DOWN - So Does Library Levy, Roane Defeats Sunday Hunting And School Levy

(05/15/2002) Sunday hunting went down by a considerable vote, 928 against to 653 for. Sunday hunting was also defeated in Roane County by a large margin, 2114 to 1352, and was losing in several other West Virginia counties. Roane's school levy also went down, 2221 against and 1030 for.

Calhoun residents defeated a small operating levy for the Calhoun County Public Library for the second time in two years.

Grantsville businessman Rick Sampson has won the Democratic candidacy in a four-way race for Calhoun Commission, with 416 votes. Sampson said "I'm very grateful for the nomination, and am looking forward to the election this fall. I appreciate those who voted for me."

Coming in second was Grantsville dentist Lynn C. Gilbert with 376 votes, third was hospital administrator Steve Whited with 247 votes and businessman Tom Shock was fourth with 169 votes.

Sampson will face Republican candidate David Barr this fall.


(05/15/2002) Two incumbents have been placed back on the Calhoun County Board of Education. Richard Fitzwater, a bank official with Calhoun Banks, received 1014 votes, and Carlene Frederick, a retired postmaster, received 720 votes.

A retired Calhoun schools employee, Don Harris, was elected to the third position with 693 votes.

FOLLIES BRINGS IN THE CROWD - An Exciting Entertainment Celebration

(05/20/2002) It was an exciting entertainment celebration, brought to the community by the young and the older this weekend - Follies 2002. Master of Ceremonies Matthew Bonar introduced nearly thirty acts or selections, all bringing cheers from the audience at the Calhoun Middle/High School auditorium. Lots of people came out to enjoy the event.

The kids were outstanding, dancin' and singin' old and newer tunes, not to forget laughable moments of comic relief. The adult Calhoun Choral Reflections, a group brought together in the past four months, was tuned and professional, all the way. What a group! Hopefully they'll stick together and continue to perform in the community.


(05/27/2002) Despite 9-11, the public's movement toward patriotism seems short-lived. Other than VFW members, officials and participants, the only "outside" attendee to Saturday's VFW-sponsored Memorial Day observance was retired teacher Elva Yoak.

While VFW Post Commander Paul Whytsell and Delegate Bill Stemple helped deliver the memorial service, Ms. Yoak sat quietly across the street from the courthouse in her lawn chair.

"My brother Jack lied about his age (15) and joined the Army in World War II," she said. He was killed in combat a short time later. Delegate Stemple read a salute to the American soldier and presented a plaque and flags to the local VFW Post.

NEW MAGISTRATE COURT AUDIT COSTS CALHOUN $27,000 - Discrepancies Discovered In Johnson's Office, Mandates Cost County Major Bucks

(05/28/2002) A bill for $26,915 has been received by the Calhoun Commission for a special audit conducted by the office of State Auditor, Glen Gainer III. The audit was done at the request of the West Virginia Supreme Court, after discrepancies were found in the records of Magistrate Steve Johnson.

"This bill is an unexpected expense, and will create money problems for the county. I think the Supreme Court should pay this bill," said Commission President Larry McCallister.

A state official told the Calhoun Commission, even though the audit is linked to a criminal investigation, county taxpayers must bare the expense, based on state regulations.

SGT. VANCE KNOWN TO CALHOUN - Soldier And Biking Enthusiast Participated In Appalachian Classic

(05/29/2002) "It is his uncommon valor that permits us our common routines" - Governor Bob Wise.

Thirty-eight-year old Sgt. Gene Vance was buried this week with full military honors, the first West Virginia National Guardsmen to have died in combat since World War II. Vance was killed in Afghanistan a week ago.

The biking enthusiast, who owned a bike shop in Morgantown, was a quiet and modest person, who would have declined the attention that has been given him in death, said his friends.

Vance was known to Calhoun County, participating and attending the Appalachian Bike Classic. Classic coordinator Donnie Price said Vance was "congenial, competitive and had a great passion for the sport. He was a real gentlemen."

CALHOUN SCHOOLS WILL BE PLACED ON PROBATION - Arnoldsburg School Falls Below SAT-9 Standard

(05/30/2002) EDUCATION CHALLENGED -It is likely Calhoun Schools will be placed on probation next year by the State Department of Education, according to Director of Curriculum Greg Cartwright.

Cartwright said the Arnoldsburg Elementary School fell below the SAT-9 standard. "One of the standards is that no more than fifteen percent of the students in any school can fall in the bottom quartile of the norming population," he said.

"This will place that school on probation next year as well as the county school system," said Cartwright.

Cartwright is issuing a statement regarding other SAT-9 scores that have been consistently dropping in grades nine, and more recently grade ten. Scores in the ninth grade at Calhoun High, according to one interpretation, have been dangerously close to placing the school and the county system on probation the past two years.


(06/01/2002) Calhoun folks came out in huge numbers to attend the 78th Commencement Exercise last night at Calhoun Middle/High School. Graduating were 102 seniors. Presenting the class for graduation was Principal Michael Offutt.

School Superintendent Ron Blankenship and school board President Rick Fitzwater did the honors, presenting diplomas.

Principal Offutt recognized the high honor scholars and read a list of seniors receiving $933,000 in scholarships, an all-time high. He said the dollar amount of scholarships doubled from last year, mostly because of the Promise Scholarships.

SARAH JANE LYNCH IS QUEEN FLORA XL - Tia Satterfield, Heather Weaver Runners-up

(06/03/2002) The coronation ceremony for Queen Flora XL was held Saturday evening, June 1 at Calhoun Middle/High School auditorium. Queen Flora will reign over the 40th. annual Wood Festival, June 6, 7, and 8, 2002.

Queen Flora contestants were Dana Yatauro, Kara Haymaker, Heather Weaver, Tia Satterfield, Deva Murphy, Sarah Lynch and Lena Gibson.

Tia Leann Satterfield was First Runner-up, Heather Nicole Weaver was Second Runner-up. Lena Jane Gibson and Dana Marie Yatauro were each selected as Miss Congeniality. Sarah Jane Lynch was also selected Miss Photogenic.

UNDERWOOD FIELD WILL BE RECREATIONAL AREA - Board Decides Calhoun Commission Will Be Owner

(06/05/2002) The Calhoun County Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to give the old Wayne Underwood Field to the Calhoun Commission, provided the county agreed to guarantee the complex would have continued recreational use. Both the Commission and the Town of Grantsville submitted proposals for the field. The Board said they had a third option, to sell the property. JUNIOR GODFREY GETS HIS MEDALS - 57 Years After W.W.II

(06/08/2002) It has been a while since Laymon Junior Godfrey saw the battlefield's of western Europe, in the great war against Hitler and his Nazi's.

He left his country-boy life in 1943 to join the U. S. Army, to re-enlist in 1945 for two more years after victory was declared.

"We do not know exactly why, but Tech 4 Godfrey never got the medals due him," said VFW Post Commander Paul Whytsell.

The 78-year-old soldier finally got his due Friday morning. In a quiet ceremony at the Calhoun Courthouse, VA representative Paul Thomas and Whytsell simply said "These belong to you Junior."

WHYTSELL SETTLES WITH STATE POLICE - MagLite Case Ends After Two And One-Half Years

(06/10/2002) An out-of-court settlement has been reached in a civil suit against Trooper Doug Starcher by Grantsville resident Richard Whytsell. Whytsell brought the action when State Police refused to replace the rear window of his car, and the department sustained charges of professional misconduct against the trooper.

The amount of the settlement was not disclosed, although Whytsell said he did not pursue the case for money. He was represented by Grantsville attorney F. John Oshoway.

Trooper Starcher did a traffic stop on Whytsell in December, 1999, throwing a MagLite through his window after witnesses said the officer was "full of rage," in what seemed to be a case of mistaken identity. Whytsell said "I did nothing wrong," but Starcher continued to write citations against him and take him to magistrate court.


(06/11/2002) The Calhoun County Wood Festival has had its ups and downs over the years, volunteers coming and going to put on the event. Sometimes it has been doubtful if there would be another festival. This 40th year was a pleasant surprise, to enjoy an upsurge in the event.

The officers, board of directors and committee chairpersons did an admirable job putting the event together.

It was what a community festival should be about, an array of events from the traditional parade and carnival, to wood chopping, volleyball, car show, archery, paint ball - and some really outstanding entertainment on the Main Street Stage.

Heartwood in the Hills always adds a great touch on the event.

VANCE REMEMBERED AS GENTLE MAN - Bikes Lowered, Spirits Turned At Appalachian Classic

(06/17/2002) Participants in the Sixth Annual Appalachian Bike Classic lowered their bikes to the ground as words of memory were spoken of avid mountain biker Sgt. Gene Vance, who was recently killed in Afghanistan.

On the loudspeaker, Jack Downs said "He gave much for all of us, so we could be here today."

Vance had been a frequent participant in the Calhoun race.

A riderless bike was pushed up the green hillside of Calhoun County Park and placed beside a giant American flag. Doing the honors, longtime biking friends, Steve Thaxton and Mike Boyes.

Young and old riders, waiting for the race's starting gun, stood in silence watching the distant flag, remembering Vance, who was described as a "kind and gentle man."


(06/18/2002) A fire destroyed a two-car garage, two vehicles and numerous other equipment at 12:15 today at the Marshal Bever residence on Route 5, one mile east of Grantsville.

Flames leaping from the garage scorched the Bever resident and cracked windows, but Grantsville Volunteer Fire doused the blaze, preventing its spread.

Explosions continued as firemen fought the blaze.

CALHOUN TAXPAYERS WILL NOT PAY FOR AUDIT - Supreme Court Relieves Magistrate Audit

(06/18/2002) The West Virginia Supreme Court notified the Calhoun Commission yesterday, Calhoun taxpayers would not be responsible for paying a $27,000 audit done on Magistrate Steve Johnson's office. The bill was issued by State Auditor Glen Gainer III. The $27,000 bill was sent to the Commission last month for an investigative audit, after the court learned about alleged discrepancies last October. Johnson has resigned and moved to South Carolina.

Commissioners sent a letter to the Supreme Court asking for relief.

WVDOT PAYS $70,000 FOR TURNING LANES - Nester Property Will Be Used For Widening

(06/18/2002) New turning lanes will provide safer access to Calhoun Middle/High School. The widening and turning lanes will be constructed by the West Virginia Department of Transportation, which acquired property belonging to Dorothy Nester on May 20, 2002.

The new lanes will be added to State Route 16 in front of the school complex.

The highway department has paid Dorothy Nester almost $70,000 for what appears to be about four acres of land, or $17,500 an acre. Nester reserved the oil and gas rights under the acreage, according to the deed. The highway department has not announced when construction will begin.

GOODRICH IN FINAL DAYS - Facility Will Completely Close In September

(06/20/2002) The final work day for many area residents at Spencer's B. F. Goodrich plant happened last Friday. Seventy workers, sixty-four of them hourly, lost their jobs, as a company official arranged to have a catered lunch. Forty-three hourly workers remain at the plant, expecting final lay-off on September 30.

A total of 147 employees, 117 hourly, lost their jobs when the plant announced the plant would be moved to Phoenix. Over 50% of the workforce is from Calhoun County.

MUD FORK MAN SHOT IN HEAD - Shooting Follows Dispute

(06/20/2002) A Mud Fork man received a gunshot wound to the head shortly before noon yesterday. Neighbors called 911 at 11:12 a.m. reporting a loud dispute and shots fired. A short time later a call was received asking for law enforcement and EMS to respond to the scene.

David Sisson was found in a bedroom with a .38 caliber pistol on the floor, nearby, according to Calhoun Sheriff Allen Parsons. Two women were present at the time of the shooting. Parsons and Deputy Carl Ballengee responded to the call, with State Trooper Jeff Hunt.


(06/23/2002) A professional misconduct complaint filed in May by the Hur Herald against Calhoun Trooper Fred Hammack has not been sustained.

Major Barrington D. Gore, who is in charge of the agencies internal review board, said "A review of the facts surrounding the incident has uncovered no chargeable actions on the part of (Hammack) and this case has been closed as not sustained and no further action will be taken." The Herald complained Trooper Hammack was illegally controlling access to "plain view" accidents or situations in Calhoun County. Trooper Fred Hammack told four Calhoun emergency personnel, the State Police had received a letter from Charleston saying The Hur Herald was not allowed on their scenes. Hammack also said The Herald had also been advised of the agencies position. A Freedom of Information request regarding the "banned letter" was not validated by the State Police. They said "no such letter letter exists."

DEEP WELL DREAMS - Resting In The Stars

(06/27/2002) Thirty years have passed since one of West Virginia's first experimental wells was drilled at Mount Zion, Calhoun County. Local residents remember the secrecy when Exxon and Consolidated Gas Supply erected the giant rig between Route 16 and Pine Creek.

Even more memorable was the companies denial of hitting gas, thus lowering expectations. Local residents remember explosive booms from the site, knocking pictures from the wall. The nearly two year project, reaching deep in the earth 20,000 feet, was essentially declared a dry hole. Few believed the denials.

The search for potential deep well sites in Calhoun appears to have peaked with about 200 locations. The county has been a hotbed of research for the past three years, the County Clerk's record room filled with elbow-to-elbow abstracters. The room is empty now.

Seismic earth thumpers and high-tech researchers strung miles of lines and connected hundreds of devices, covering every inch of the county, prognosticating where the best pockets might be. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe millions, have been spent "looking."

Sitting without connection to the outside world, Calhoun's first deep wells sit idly near Nobe Road and on Route 5 near Grantsville. No announcement has been made regarding their status, but some reports say they did not turn out well.

Some drillers say they were too cautious, drilling "overbalanced." The mud suspension which is used to keep the gas from blowing out may have gotten into the formation, sealing off the supply. The Ardent project on Rt. 16 was reportedly doing well, but something happened toward the end of drilling, although it is unconfirmed.

GOOB" ALMOST 100% RECOVERED - One Year Ago Today

(07/02/2002) It was one year ago Ryan "Goob" Fitzwater was critically injured when his farm tractor over-turned near Hur, crushing him. The next few days was touch and go, with Goob fighting for his life.

Today we will recall Goob's struggle and victory, not forgetting the painful and fearful hours faced by Rick, Melinda and their family, and most every person who knew them in Calhoun County and across America.


(07/03/2002) The Fitzwater family of Hur, Rick, Melinda, Mike and Ryan went to Parkersburg yesterday to celebrate the life of 16-year-old Ryan "Goob" Fitzwater. The outing included dinner at the Olive Garden and some new golf equipment for Goob.

One year ago, following a near fatal tractor accident, Goob's life was touch and go for several days as parents and friends clung to his bedside.

"I remember jumping from the tractor" he said, while it was rolling backwards. Goob was putting up hay with his dad and brother in a remote area off Pine Creek Road near Hur. "I remember thinking I might die," he recalled. He didn't remember his dad and brother pushing the tractor away from his crushed body. "Things went black."

"It seemed like everything fell into place to save him," said Rick. The ambulance was there within minutes, trauma care was given and the connection to the HealthNet chopper was right on schedule. He arrived in short order at the trauma unit at Charleston Area Medical Center.

Yesterday Goob said he was grateful to his family and neighbors. "I didn't know how bad it was until I got home, and my friends told me," he said.

His recovery has not always been easy, but "Goob has what it takes to make it," said Rick. Still suffering from a weak leg, he hopes to play football at Calhoun High this fall. He did 80 push-ups a day for most of the year, and "I had to make myself run."

CALHOUN'S E-911 COMPANY FILES BANKRUPTCY - McKenzie Engineering Had Problems In Several Counties

(07/09/2002) A technical and electronic company doing Calhoun County's E-911 system has taken Chapter 7 bankruptcy. McKenzie Engineering Corporation of Summersville has discontinued business with a filing, according to the U. S. Bankruptcy Court of Southern West Virginia.

The petition was filed on July 1, and lists $52,745 in assets and $356,609.93 in liabilities.

Commissioner David Barr said it is likely the county will file to protect the counties interests. "We would want to get computer files Mckenzie might still have," he said.

Chapter 7 means obligations and debts are discharged.

FORTY-FIVE YEARS OF SCOUTING - Wilson Honored At Camp Katoga

(07/19/2002) Calhoun's longtime scoutmaster Harold "Kitty" Wilson was recognized for his 45 year commitment to the Boy Scouts of America. The award was presented last night by scout leader Duane Poling, before a campfire at Camp Katoga. The large group of scouts and visitors, including members of Troop 39 of Grantsville, stood and applauded the 80-year-old community leader.

Presenting the special award, Duane Poling said:

Tonight I have been given the honor of making a few remarks about a great man. I have known and been associated with this man for more than 35 years and I consider him one of my best friends. That man is Harold Wilson. Most of you know him as 'Kitty,' scoutmaster of Troop 39....

LOCAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY GETS $60,000 - Wirt-Calhoun Project Seeking Job Opportunities

(07/20/2002) The Wirt-Calhoun economic development project, known as the Little Kanawha Area Development Corporation, has received a development grant for $60,000 from the State of West Virginia. The grant was doubled because of the two-county venture.

Development agencies in rural counties where unemployment is severely high, are being challenged to create job opportunities, particularly when access is difficult and infrastructure has not been developed.

Furthermore, regional jobs are leaving the area to locate in other countries and regions.

WANT A JOB AT GILMER'S NEW FEDERAL PRISON? - Hunker, Persevere And Don't Count On It

(07/22/2002) It appears some people in the greater Gilmer County area are suffering from the wrong impression regarding jobs at the new federal prison near Glenville.

About 400 positions are to be filled by this fall, the scheduled opening.

Glenville Democrat Editor David Corcoran said last week's job and business seminars were "sobering."

Prison administrators "walked" about 100 individuals through the job application process at last weeks event.

Editor Corcoran, in his paper, focused on positive aspects the prison will bring to the community, ethnic diversity, social, civic, cultural and economic benefits.

He warned the community must become completely familiar with the federal governments way of doing things. "Hence, for business, the "red tape" will have to be learned as a matter of routine." he said.

. Locally, by intent or neglect, the agency appears to have failed to communicate the essentials to the hundreds of unemployed workers in the region, after the location announcement was made.

MEAD-WESTVACO ELIMINATING 2500 JOBS - Not Because Politicians Didn't Help Them

(07/24/2002) Mead-Westvaco, one of the largest landholders in Wirt and several other West Virginia counties, has announced they will cut 2,500 jobs by the end of the year. They are reporting a second-quarter loss of eight million dollars, or four cents a share.

Gov. Cecil Underwood gave timber companies, including Westvaco, over a 60% tax break with the Managed Timberlands Bill, reducing taxation in many rural counties by several hundred thousand dollars. Mead-Westvaco pays Wirt County less than $1 an acre tax.


(07/25/2002) The West Nile Virus has arrived in West Virginia. Dr. John Snyder of the Jackson County Health Department said the virus was confirmed Tuesday in an "Eastern Bluebird" found near Cottageville.

"It is not a cause for alarm, but it is a cause for concern," said Snyder, in a statement about the mosquito-borne disease that can be deadly to humans. Since the disease first came to America from the West Nile District of Uganda in 1999, the Center for Disease Control has confirmed 152 cases and 18 deaths.

West Virginia joins 27 others states in which the disease has been detected.


(07/26/2002) Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center has received a $447,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to increase health services in Calhoun and Gilmer County, according to CEO Barb Lay.

A second grant of $200,000 has been awarded the center to provide dental care to area residents who are unable to afford it.

"Providing good health care to Calhoun and Gilmer counties has always been our goal," said Lay. "Part of doing that is getting grant money to provide services to the community, particularly to those who do not have insurance, CHIPS, Medicaid or Medicare."


(08/01/2002) A fire of suspicious nature destroyed the former Harvey and Jessie Hicks place on Walker Road, about one mile from State Route 16 near Chloe.

The inside of the structure was destroyed, in addition to an adjacent outbuilding.

. About six pumpers and tankers responded to scene. The dwelling had apparently been on fire for a while before firemen were summoned at 11 p.m. Wednesday night. "It was a really hot fire," said a volunteer firemen.

State Police were notified that a possible "fire bomb" could have started the blaze.


(08/01/2002) Grantsville dentist Dr. Lynn Gilbert is upset, alleging problems with the quality of public water in Grantsville, writing her complaints in a letter to The Calhoun Chronicle. Dr. Gilbert said "I have lost confidence in the public water supply," saying the Grantsville Water Company has "complete disregard for public health."

The dentist, a defeated candidate for the Calhoun Commission in the May primary, says "Meanwhile, I'm drinking bottled water." Angry after a water line break on July 16, she said "No one had the decency to notify me," regarding loss of service.

Mid-Ohio Health Department sanitarian Marlin Zwoll said he doesn't know of any problems with water safety within the Grantsville Water Department.

Zwoll said he believes Grantsville's water engineer "Dave Johnson and his crew take their job seriously, and take all necessary precautions."

Gilbert, a Harvard graduate, said "My background in public health taught me this is a serious problem for the elderly, newborns and the infirm," concerned that a boil water advisory was not issued.

EMERGENCY SERVICES SITE SELECTED - Equalizes EMS Services In County, Issue Discussed For Months

(08/02/2002) The creation of a new Calhoun County emergency services center moved forward last night with the Calhoun Commission selecting a site. The building would house the counties 911, emergency medical services and the Office of Emergency Services, and possibly other services.

The current building at Mt. Zion is in disrepair, unable to meet fire codes and inadequate for installation of new equipment.

The Commission voted unanimously to move ahead with a friendly condemnation suit of the Hamilton property on High Street in Grantsville. The nearly two acre flat lot is owned by the Knott's Memorial United Methodist Church, whose official board and membership has agreed to sell the premium lot to the Commission for $10,000, although it is worth several times that amount.

Because the property has some covenants in the deed, the church has agreed to the friendly condemnation suit. Pastor Mary Zimmer said "Our congregation wants to help this community and this is something we can do."

President McCallister said he would have preferred to have all the money in place before a site was obtained.

Commissioner David Barr said he believes the site decision will move the project ahead more rapidly. "The next thing is to get an architect to develop some drawings," he said.


(08/06/2002) A relatively large quantity of narcotics and controlled drugs was taken from Grantsville's Rite-Aid Pharmacy during the late night hours Sunday or Monday morning. Thieves jimmied a side door to gain entrance, according to manager Marlene Richards.

One of the drugs taken was Oxy Contin. A Rite-Aid security manager arrived at the store yesterday to take an accurate inventory.

A morning clerk discovered the breaking and entering and called authorities.

FOOTBALL FIELD DENIAL RAISES PARENT'S HACKLES - Youth League Football Circulating Petition

(08/12/2002) A decision last week to not let Youth League Football play on the new Calhoun Middle/High School field at Mount Zion has raised the hackles of several parents.

Parent Crissy Jones appeared before the school board last Monday, expressing her anger over the denial, stating she could not understand what harm 80-120 pound players could do to the field, using it four times this fall.

The school board, by consensus, supported Principal Roger Propst and Superintendent Ron Blankenship, who said the field was still too fragile this year for activity beyond the regular school football programs.

Since the meeting, Superintendent of Schools Ron Blankenship said "I have since spoken with some of the people involved with the youth league football program and applaud their efforts."

Blankenship said he understood their concern regarding use of the new football field, but feels the field needs as much time as possible before heavy use.


(08/19/2002) Calhoun school personnel are doing battle with mold and mildew at Calhoun Middle/High School. Administrator Donnie Pitts said "We are in the process of doing a room by room cleaning to remove as much as possible."

"We are doing everything we can to provide the best possible environmental conditions for students and staff at the start of school," said Pitts. "We feel confident that our efforts are working." While the problem is not new, it is probably worse this summer because of the high heat and humidity.

"I would estimate the problem is moderate to severe in about 10 classrooms and slight in others," he said. The problem may be directly related to the outside air dampers.


(08/24/2002) Charleston Area Medical Center will no longer be a Trauma I medical facility.

This is serious business not only for Charleston and Kanawha County residents, but all the rural counties in our area.

"It is frightening," said Minnie Hamilton Health Care's CEO Barb Lay.

Lay said for years rural areas have experienced access problems, and now it has happened to more urban areas like Charleston. "Now it has become everyone's problem." "What it will mean in timelines and access to people with critical trauma in places like Calhoun remains to be seen," she said. It is not a good situation.

CAMC is where nearly all critical need trauma cases have been sent from Calhoun, Roane and several surrounding counties, either by HealthNet chopper or EMS transport.


(08/25/2002) A manager of Grantsville's Foodland grocery store was killed when a vehicle in which she was apparently riding crashed against a hillside Saturday night.

Amanda Rogers, 26, of Grantsville was dead on scene as emergency workers from Calhoun EMS and the Grantsville Volunteer Fire Department extracted her from the vehicle.

Ms. Rogers had been an employee of the local grocery store since high school.

State Police reportedly arrested one woman, possibly the driver of the vehicle, late Saturday night, while a second woman was taken to Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center for treatment. Authorities are continuing an investigation regarding the circumstances surrounding the fatality.

MOUNT ZION OX ROAST HAS 43RD YEAR - A Mouth-Watering Event

(08/25/2002) The "ox" was placed in the pit for the 43rd year at the Mount Zion Community Park this weekend, for the mouth-watering enjoyment of those who stopped by.

Ox Master David Weaver has been there for all of them, in the early years as a child at the hand of his family. Weaver has graduated to being in charge of the preparation, and in recent years he has had some help.

Vonda Gunn said the visitors had been steady most of Saturday, and she was grateful to those who helped support the community park


(08/25/2002) A civil suit related to a settlement claiming the wrongful death of Virginia Osterhoudt of Orma, will be heard in Calhoun Circuit Court on Monday. Ms. Osterhoudt died in a two vehicle collision on Leatherbark, US 33/119 east of the Roane-Calhoun line, on March 17, 2002.

Ms. Osterhoudt died at the scene after a truck driven by Braxton County resident Walter Jack "crossed the center line and struck the Osterhoudt vehicle," also injuring Douglas Osterhodt, the deceased woman's husband and six-year-old Brittany Clearwater.

According to court records, Walter Jack was not charged with any offenses related to the "wrongful death" other than a possible citation for driving left of center. The accident was investigated by State Police Trooper Fred Hammack.

The civil suit claims Walter Jack was solely at fault.


(08/27/2002) Former Calhoun Magistrate Steve Johnson pled guilty to stealing $1000 from public funds yesterday in a plea bargain agreement before Calhoun Circuit Court.

The plea crosses the felony threshold, although special prosecutor Robert William Schulenberg III said "He misappropriated more than $1000," in what he described as a violation of public trust.

Schulenberg told Judge David Nibert it was a case of a public official using money from a magistrate court as his bank.

Judge Nibert asked the former magistrate "Are you in fact guilty?" after which he replied "Yes." The prosecutor said Johnson made restitution of some misappropriated funds, indicating about $3000 had been paid back. Schulenberg said six additional "traffic tickets" have reportedly surfaced, that Johnson apparently skimmed from his office accounts. He indicated an amount in excess of $1000 was still to be recovered.

Johnson's office was audited by the West Virginia State Auditor's Office at the request of the West Virginia Supreme Court. Discrepancies surfaced last October, after which Johnson resigned and moved to South Carolina.

The audit also said the court failed to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles after individuals did not pay their fines, which would have led to license suspensions for non-payment. Johnson told the Calhoun Commission last year such a practice was routine.

Judge Nibert said the plea does not affect what punishment will be given Johnson, with a pre-sentence hearing scheduled for November 22. He could face 1-10 years in prison and a $2500 fine.

Nibert ordered Adult Probation Officer Patsy McCartney of Grantsville to do a pre-sentence investigation, which will be used in Johnson's sentencing. McCartney, who has worked in the local court system for several years, has yet to recuse herself as did Judge Thomas Evans and Prosecuting Attorney Tony Morgan.

. NETTLES DEMOCRAT OF THE YEAR - Weaver Will Be Party's Vice-Chair

(08/28/2002) Calhoun Assessor Jason Nettles has been named Democrat of the Year by the Calhoun Democrat Executive Committee, according to Chairperson Marge Evans. Nettles will receive special recognition at the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in Charleston on September 14.

Nettles said "I believe in the Democrat Party. It has always been the party of the working class people and the underprivileged, since the days of Andrew Jackson back in the early 1800's.

"The party has always tried to legislate to decrease the gap between the working class and the rich, and advocate for the public's interest." Nettles said "I am truly honored. It means I might have done something right to help the party."


(09/01/2002) Pleasant Hill Elementary School has been getting a much needed facelift. "It is much brighter, like a whole new school inside," said Principal Larry Stinn. The school has a new sprinkler system, new lighting, wall and floor covering with several new areas being developed.

The school was built nearly 25 years ago, and really needed some upgrading. The sewage system was improved a couple years ago.

"It's like a whole new school inside."

. "BEAR" GETTING HIS HEART - Calhoun Man In Surgery Today

(09/03/2002) A 47-year-old Calhoun man Larry "Bear" Kerby of Mt. Zion is in surgery today (Tuesday, September 3) receiving a heart transplant. Kerby was placed in surgical preparation at 3 a.m.

The surgery was expected to last eight to nine hours.

Kerby has been at the Cleveland Clinic since the last of June, waiting on a new heart. During that period his mother Carol Joann Kerby passed away.

BOARD DENIES USE OF FIELD TO YOUTH FOOTBALL, AGAIN - Group Presents Petition, Angry At Response

(09/04/2002) "It was a silent brick wall," said youth football league parent Patty Laughlin, who presented a petition to the Calhoun School Board last night asking to use the school's new football field four times this fall, one time for a championship game.

The petitions had 580 signatures, with more to come, said Laughlin.

"We want a clean and proud place to play," asking the Board to re-consider. "I was angry at the lack of response," she said.

School board president Rick Fitzwater said "I cannot see how it can benefit the field. It's too fragile. We are not against youth football, we're trying to protect the new field as much as possible," he said.

NORMAN RIDGE RESIDENT GUNSHOT VICTIM - Life-Flighted To Huntington Hospital

(09/05/2002) The Calhoun County Sheriff's Department is investigating a gunshot incident on Norman Ridge yesterday evening. Eugene Stevens was shot in the chest with a 9 mm handgun, according to Deputy Sheriff Carl Ballengee. Stevens was taken to Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center by Calhoun EMS shortly after the 5 p.m. incident. He was taken by HealthNet chopper to St. Marys Hospital in Huntington.

Stevens, according to a hospital spokesperson, was in the ICU listed in fair condition.


(09/11/2002) Wanda Richards is resigning as president of the Minnora Community Center Board. "We have worked seven years of our lives for the center and the community, volunteering our time," she said.

Richards said she and other members of the board were asked to resign by Larry Cottrell at a meeting held last week. "We are tired of his harassment and character assassination, and we have decided to let his group take it over," she said.

"We hope to make the transition as smooth as possible," said Richards.

Richards said other board members are expected to resign, likely Rose Jarvis, Gene Hicks, Freda Whytsell and Dormal Ewing.

Donna Jordan, a member of the board, said upon receiving written resignations a public meeting will be scheduled to begin development of a new board of directors.

A RETURN TO THE MEMORIAL FIELD - Community Comes Together On 9-11

(09/12/2002) It was a coming back to the mountain experience last night at a special candlelight memorial service for 9-11 survivors and the future of America. A large crowd gathered on Hamilton Field above Grantsville to recall their experiences, hear a message of hope and enjoy some special singing. VFW Post 5959 presented the colors.

Pastor Mary Zimmer called upon clergy people from around Calhoun to give prayer, and those attending went forward to light their candles of remembrance from the "Christ Candle."


(09/20/2002) An 18-year-old Spencer woman is missing, and friends of the family have requested The Herald publish her picture. Christian Dawn Starcher Seabolt was last seen about 9 p.m. on August 31st when she went to get a pack of cigarettes.

She told her mother, Vickie Starcher, she was going to a Spencer store, and has not been heard from since. She is 5' 3" tall, weighs 135 pounds, has green eyes, and brown shoulder length hair. She was last wearing blue jeans, a pullover T-shirt with writing and lace-up combat boots.

$200,000 GRANT WILL HELP CALHOUN SCHOOLS - Three Projects Will Benefit Mt. Zion Campus

(09/24/2002) Congressman Alan B. Mollohan, D-W.Va., announced today that a $200,000 grant will help complete key athletic and administrative facilities in the Calhoun County Schools system.

"This money will be used to finish the interiors of the board of education complex and the athletic facilities building, and upgrade the bleachers at the football field," Mollohan said. "It is a sound investment in the future of central West Virginia and, especially, the young people who attend the Calhoun County schools."

Principal Roger Propst said the money is being used to upgrade the old bleachers from Wayne Underwood Field, in addition to improvements and development of the other two buildings. "We are very grateful to Congressman Mollohan for the support he has given us," said Propst.

REGIONAL JAIL BILL IS ZERO DOLLARS! - Landmark Night At Calhoun Commission, Audit "Good Report" In Black

(10/08/2002) It was a landmark night at the Calhoun Commission.

The regional jail bill was reduced to zero, the first time in eight or more years. Commissioners McCallister, Barr and Weaver made a payment on a debt which has often run over $100,000, using some accumulated money from the budget.

Regional jail bills have been a thorn in the side of dozens of West Virginia counties.

"It has been a long time coming," said Commission President Larry McCallister. "Of course, the bill will begin to build again."

"Tight control of the county's limited funds has not been without sacrifice," said Commissioner Bob Weaver. "But it is an important goal. We are charged with being accountable."

The annual audit was presented and signed by the Commission, which showed the county was $17,000 in the black at the end of the fiscal year which ended on June 30, 2002. "It was a good report," said Commissioner David Barr.

Facing numerous mandates and dwindling funds, the county has been challenged to balance the budget. "Programs and wages have been held tight in order to keep the county solvent," said Barr.

Commissioner McCallister expressed his thanks to all the elected officials and their employees for helping manage the sparse funds.

ALUMINUM PLANT PLANS 200 LAYOFFS - Jackson Plant Employs Over 1000

(10/09/2002) Pechiney Rolled Products LLC of Ravenswood, the former Kaiser Aluminum plant, will lay off 200 employees by the end of the year. The largest employer in Jackson County, has a number of employees from Calhoun, Wirt and Roane County. The layoffs confirm speculation about problems with the operation. Some employees have told The Hur Herald they expect the operation to be shut down and moved abroad.

The cuts follow a $9 million restructuring plan aimed at making the plant more profitable. "We are not in a profitable situation," said VP of Operations, Todd Ritchie.


(10/17/2002) A Calhoun man accused of sexually abusing a minor has been sent to William R. Sharpe Hospital in Weston for holding and for inpatient treatment. Russell Lee Collins, who has been declared incompetent by the court, was accused of sexual abuse on a six-year-old female.

The court concluded after psychiatric and psychological evaluations that Collins had the "intellectual functioning of a six or seven year old child."

Judge Thomas C. Evans III ordered the defendant's supervising physician or psychologist to cause the "defendant's competency to stand trial and dangerousness to self and others to be reviewed every six months" during his inpatient hospitalization.

The defendant's attorney Kevin Postalwait ask the State of West Virginia to disclose taped statements of the victim taken by Trooper Doug Starcher, with Licensed Social Worker Helen Jordan present. Although the court ordered Trooper Starcher to produce the tape, he was unable to do so.


(10/18/2002) The Johns Manville plant in Wood County will be closed by the end of the year, according to the company president Steve Hochhauser. Production will be shifted to Germany and a plant in Ohio.

One hundred employees will lose their jobs at the plant which produces air filteration products. The company has 9,500 workers at 52 plants in China, Europe and North America.

The original Parkersburg plant was established in 1908 and was purchased by Manville in 1958.

LEAH HAROLD HOMECOMING QUEEN - 2002 Parade And Coronation Ceremony

(10/20/2002) For the first time the Calhoun High homecoming parade was shifted from Grantsville to Route 16 near the Calhoun Middle/High School campus. The pre-game event kicked off at the Mount Zion Drive-In and proceeded south to the school's parking lot.

The crowning of Queen Leah Harold and her court was a half-time event at the Calhoun-Roane football game.

CALHOUN ELECTION RESULTS - General Election 2002

(11/05/2002) U.S. SENATE

693 votes for Jay Wolfe/R

1220 votes for Jay Rockefeller/D

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES -- 2nd Congressional District

971 votes for Shelley Moore Capito/R

926 votes for Jim Humphreys/D

STATE SENATOR - 2nd Senatorial District

1208 votes for Larry J. Edgell

HOUSE OF DELEGATES -- 33rd Delegate District

Delegate Bill Stemple Re-elected carrying district

591 votes for Lyle E. Kerby/R

1342 votes for William F. "Bill" Stemple/D

FAMILY COURT JUDGE 4th Family Coirt Circuit

1347 votes for Larry S. Whited


1224 votes for Rick Sampson/D

682 votes for David Barr/R


1392 votes for Rick "Bubba" Postawait/D

AMENDMENT #1 - County and Municipal Option Economic Development Amendment

742 votes FOR

821 votes AGAINST

AMENDMENT #2 - Equalizing Numbers of Years of Excess Levies

746 votes FOR

921 votes AGAINST

LOCAL OPTION ELECTION BALLOT - Liquor Store in Lee District

147 votes FOR

233 votes AGAINST


1033 votes FOR

809 votes AGAINST

MOLD PROBLEM COULD COME TO AN END - Playground Will Be Decided Soon

(11/05/2002) Calhoun Superintendent of Schools Ron Blankenship advised the Calhoun school board last night, work would begin on correcting a ventilation problem which has allowed mold to grow around vents this summer at Calhoun Middle/High School. Blankenship said a company which was involved with the construction of the school, Casto Technical, would be making adjustments to the ventilation system "without cost to the board."

He said the problem is related to the balancing of outside air with inside air.

SCHOOL RECEIVES $200,000 - Concerns Over Playground

(11/2002) Blankenship acknowledged the receipt of $200,000 through Congressman Allan Mollohan for improvements to the athletic complex and for completion of the new county board office at the Mt. Zion Campus. He said the board will move from the old grade school building by the end of June, 2003.

Board member Don Harris expressed concern (Middle School) kids were still running around the parking lot, when he visited recently. "I find it very scary," he said, referring to the lack of a playground for the Middle School students. Principal Mike Offutt said the LSIC will be meeting shortly to make a decision about the playground location.

At least $10,000 was obtained last June for playground equipment.


(11/05/2002) Calhoun school board members heard a report on smoking, snuff rubbing and chewing in Calhoun Middle and High School last night. Nearly half of all Calhoun High School students reported smoking in the past year, according to Jane Lynch, Director of Federal Programs for the county.

The data was collected in a survey conducted in May, 2002, with the information obtained from students, identities remain confidential.

The report said 17.6% of Calhoun Middle students and 12.9% of Calhoun High students reported they began before ten years of age.

It said 35.6% of all 6th to 8th grade Middle Schools students and 48.7% of all Calhoun High students have smoked within the past year.

Of students who reported smoking sometime during the year, 21.9% of Middle School students and 40.6% Calhoun High students smoked before and after school. 11.3% Middle School students and 17.2% Calhoun High students smoke weeknights. 20.6% Calhoun Middle students and 24.7% reported smoking on weekends.


(11/07/2002) Christopher Todd Smith, 31 of Grantsville has been charged with stealing a dead man's credit card after he died in a car crash on Route 47 near Leachtown, Wood County on October 30th. Smith apparently came upon the fatal crash of Randolph Fluharty, a resident of Mineral Wells, taking the man's credit card and using it the same day to purchase an ATV.

Smith is being held in Central Regional Jail on $10,000 bond. charged with two felony counts of false pretenses and stealing another persons identity.

Police say they found Smith because he forgot and gave a Grantsville address when making a purchase on the card.

VINTAGE FIRE TRUCKS FALLING APART - New Pumper Badly Needed, Pleasant Hill Students Raise $600 In Pennies

(11/14/2002) It seems like a long road raising money for a new fire truck for the Grantsville Volunteer Fire Department, according to Fire Chief Dave Johnson. "There is no specific place to obtain the money," he said. "It seems like we may have to do it a dollar at a time."

Beyond the capacity to respond to calls, at risk is fire ratings within specific distances from the Grantsville station and fire hydrants. Areas close to the station and water hydrants have been in Class 7-9, which means reduced premiums for many area homeowners.

"Losing the rating means insurance rates will go up," said Johnson. Homeowner and business rates have nearly doubled in some instances, when the classification goes toward Class 10.

Firemen Ed Tingler and Judy Brannon, both active members of the department, have been on the internet looking for funds. "We've spent lots of hours contacting companies and officials," said Tingler. "We've written just about everyone we could think about, from Oprah Winfrey and Paul Harvey to Bill Gates and the USDA." Tingler said the USDA did tell the department they have a program to help departments purchase trucks, but so far not much has happened. "We've even asked Gov. Wise," he said.

THANKS FOR THE FINANCIAL SUPPORT - The Herald Is Still A Struggling Endeavor, We Thank Our Writers Too

(11/18/2002) The Hur Herald expresses thanks to those who took the time to financially support the endeavor. Our fund raising efforts have been to ask for small contributions each year to help keep the project going, with money to be used to purchase equipment.

Sunny Cal and the central West Virginia region has historically been a "depressed" area, but many families have expanded their horizons by getting on the net by ever increasing numbers. Ready cash is in short supply for many of them. They are faithful readers and we appreciate them, and all our readers who make this venture worthwhile.

We hope you enjoy the stories about people, events, and history, life in the backwoods of West Virginia, and the the news that shapes the lives and times of our community. We have tried to report responsibly, worthy of your readership

. We express thanks to our contributors who write regularly for The Herald, like Jack Cawthon, Tony Russell, Suzanne Mazer Stewart, John "Captain Spock" Griffin, and Norma Knotts Shaffer, who works every day bringing history and pictures into the 21st century from the last two centuries. We thank Alvin Engelke for sharing his Creston News, his birds-eye view and opinion from his spot in the world.

We thank all of you who submit news tips and stories to us on a regular basis, and the Letters to the Editor which we share with readers.

POLICE RESPOND TO ''SHOTS FIRED" - Incident Near Hattie's Run

(11-2002) State Police from at least four counties responded to a fight with reported gunfire on Hattie's Run off Route 5, near the Calhoun-Gilmer line Thursday night. Calhoun 911 received a call from Cheryl Richards reportedly saying a man identified as Greg Hudson had been involved in a conflict and had a gun.

Hudson was reportedly "fighting" with another man at the Richard's residence.

Hudson, who was said to be an out-of-area resident, owning a hunting cabin in the rural area, apparently fled the scene shortly after 10:15 p.m., traveling to Cherry Fork, but later returned to the area as police arrived. Troopers Jeff Hunt from Calhoun, Tom Yanero from Gilmer and Doug Starcher from Roane responded to the call, along with State Policemen from Braxton County.

When the incident first broke, Trooper Hunt advised Calhoun Control he did not want Sheriff Allen Parsons (or his deputies) to respond, only State Police, although state officers were a considerable distance from the scene. Hunt responded from the Nicut area in southern Calhoun.

STARCHER DIES FROM INJURIES - Injured On 4-Wheeler Getting Deer

(12/01/2002) 60-year-old Gary "Cook" Starcher of Sam's Run, Calhoun County has died Saturday, November 30th in Charleston Area Medical Center from injuries he received Monday when his 4-wheeler crashed in a remote area near the Calhoun-Roane Line.

METER EXPLODES IN WORKER'S FACE - Gene Little In Critical Condition

(12/03/2002) A Calhoun man was critically injured Monday morning when a gas meter reportedly exploded in his face. Gene Little, about 35, of Grantsville was life-flighted to the Morgantown trauma center from Smithville, Ritchie County, suffering from severe injuries to his face and head.

Little, an employee of Creston Oil and Gas, was in surgery most of Monday. A family spokesperson said his condition was "improved" last night and he was responding to voice commands. Earlier fears that he had lost his vision seemed to have lessened, but his condition will be re-evaluated Tuesday morning.

"Most of his facial bones were shattered," said the spokesperson, causing brain injury that required extensive surgery.


(12/06/2002) A conflict involving 27-year-old George Nick Parsons and his brother-in-law Jeremy Collins, in his 20's, turned violent early Thursday morning at a mobile home on Sugar Camp Road, according to Sheriff Allen Parsons.

"It was a very serious and dangerous situation," said Sheriff Parsons.

A 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun discharged when a third party took the weapon from the combatants. Jeremy Collins was taken to Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center with an injury to his hand. Both men may have been injured by stab wounds from a knife.

Emergency services responded just off Yellow Creek Road about 2:30 a.m. Calhoun Sheriff Allen Parsons and Deputy Carl Ballengee went to the scene after Calhoun EMS indicated "shots had been fired."


(12/10/2002) Heartwood in the Hill's students, faculty and alumni performed for an audience of 175 when the school hosted its 10th annual December Celebration on Saturday, December 7, 2002. Audience members were treated to an evening of music, dance, fun and surprises. Prior to the performance visitors had the opportunity to view Heartwood's art and mask exhibit.

GOODRICH PRODUCING SLIDES IN INDIA - Denial Turns To A Maybe, Workers Might

(12/16/2002) The closed B. F. Goodrich plant in Spencer is manufacturing escape slides in India, after announcing they would not shift production abroad, according to Keith Smith of the West Virginia Building Trades Commission.

One hundred and seventy-two workers lost their jobs this year, about half from Calhoun, when Goodrich was to have shifted the operation to Phoenix, Arizona. Only three Spencer workers took jobs with the company elsewhere.

Former Goodrich union president, John Simers of Mt. Zion, Calhoun County, indicated many workers had suspicioned the company was covering up. "Maybe the truth will finally help our workers get some help," he told The Herald.

Goodrich claimed business with the aerospace industry declined after 9-11, indicating the Spencer operation was no longer profitable. Workers heard rumors the company wanted to move some operations to India before the 9-11 attack, and company employees from India came to the Spencer plant for training, reportedly before 9-11.

Smith obtained internal company e-mails that reportedly show Goodrich is ordering slides from India. He believes the admission may help former Goodrich employees obtain extended benefits, like unemployment or special training. He will be presenting a petition to the Department of Labor.


(12/17/2002) About 83 tracts of timber land in Calhoun owned by Mead-Westvaco have been sold to a new company for $2,889,000. Forestland Group LLC, a company expected to supply pulp to Mead-Westvaco, has purchased 5,686 Calhoun acres from the former company.

Besides Calhoun, a total of 95,000 acres in Wirt, Wood, Ritchie, Jackson, Pleasants and Tyler have been sold. The Wirt County sale was for $22.5 million for 44,000 acres on 316 parcels.

Mead-Westvaco paid Calhoun County about $12,000 in taxes on 5,686 acres last year, according to Calhoun Assessor Jason Nettles, benefiting from a magnanimous tax break given timber corporations during the Underwood administration.

The Managed Timberlands Bill was touted to help the small wood lot owner improve his tree stand, but the original 60%+ tax break has been used by large corporations who are already managing their forest land.


(12/17/2002) Most American Indian traditions used by West Virginia 4-H clubs are respectful and beloved, but a few that are stereotypical and potentially offensive will be abandoned in 2003, according to a press release from WVU Extension Service.

The use of tribal names - Mingo, Cherokee, Delaware or Seneca - will continue, a review committee announced yesterday. Face-painting, feather headdresses, "stereotypical motions and dances," and chanting a tribal cheer of "Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!" will not be allowed.

"I believe we have achieved what the thousands of passionate and dedicated West Virginia 4-H'ers asked for: Keep as many of our West Virginia 4-H traditions as possible, and halt anything that might be stereotypical or offensive," said Extension Service Director Larry Cote.


(12/18/2002) Nineteen-year-old Melvin A. Shaffer was found guilty of negligent homicide today before a jury in Calhoun Magistrate Court. He was charged in the death of Rodney Wagoner, 44, of Big Bend.

Magistrate Rick Postalwait sentenced Shaffer to one year in jail and fined him $1000 plus court costs. Shaffer was taken to Central Regional Jail, after his attorney Teresa Monk filed a petition to have the circuit judge review the case for a different sentence.

Prosecutor Tony Morgan said Shaffer's truck crossed a double line at a high rate of speed and struck Wagoner's vehicle head-on, killing him instantly. Wagoner's 20-year-old son Brian Wagoner was critically injured, but has recovered from the March 24th incident.

Morgan presented a number of witnesses who testified Shaffer was tailgating, driving recklessly, attempting to pass, went left of center, passed on a double line and was speeding. "We have eyewitnesses saying just how senseless this man was driving," he said.