LOOKING BACK TOP STORIES - Hur Herald 1999-2002


JAKE PLAYS FOR BALLET - Calhoun's Jake Krack is likely performing in a new venue next Friday, October 11, doing his accomplished fiddling with the Mid-Ohio Valley Ballet. The award winning Krack will help open the 21st season of the ballet company, playing fiddle tunes to an original work "Ballet meets Bluegrass."

REGIONAL JAIL BILL ZERO DOLLARS - 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.

BEAR COMES HOME - SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE - A lot has happened to Mt. Zion resident "Bear" Kerby in the past three or so months. After being stricken with heart failure and taken to the Cleveland Clinic, where he waited for a heart transplant, the day arrived when a donor organ arrived and Bear got a new heart.

Bear has now come home.

DEWARD OFFUTT RECOGNIZED FOR LONGTIME SERVICE - A resolution was passed recognizing longtime volunteer and farmer Deward Offutt for his dedicated service to the RC & D Council, the Molasses Festival, farmers and families in Calhoun County, a period covering most of Offutt's lifetime.

The Calhoun Commission said "It is uncommon to find people who have stuck to community service like Deward Offutt. We are grateful to him."

CALHOUN LIBRARY 35 YEARS OLD - Yesterday was open house at the Calhoun's only public library, celebrating a history of 35 years at the current location. "A wonderful library it is," said library board member Tom Gainer, a former Calhoun Commissioner, who was the honored person at the celebration.

Gainer, who has been suffering health problems, has been a dedicated friend of the library, not only as a board member, but has also contributed time and labor to many different projects over the years.

President of the Library Board Grace Richards said "Tom Gainer has been a great asset to this library and this community."

FIFTY POT PLANTS CONFISCATED - The Calhoun County Sheriff's Department confiscated fifty marijuana plants Saturday afternoon from a wooded area off lower Pine Creek Road, about two miles West of Grantsville. Sheriff Allen Parsons said the six to nine foot plants had a street value up to $150,000.

Hunters stumbled onto the pot patch, said Parsons.

MINNORA CENTER BOARD MEMBERS RESIGN - Five official board members of the Minnora Community Center have resigned their positions, according to Donna Jordan. Jordan, one of the four or five remaining board members, said she received a letter of resignation this week from President Wanda Richards, Vice-President Rose Jarvis, Freda Whytsell, Gene Hicks and Dormal Ewing.

RED DEVILS HAVING GOOD SEASON - MOLLOHAN PRESENTS $200,000 - The Calhoun Red Devils (6-1) are having one of the best seasons in many years, recording five shutouts in seven games, allowing just 21 points.

Tonight the team meets traditional rival Spencer, the Roane Raiders (0-6), for their homecoming game. Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m., but you'd better come early to get a good parking space.

Last year the Roane team defeated the Red Devils 43-6.

Congressman Alan Mollohan is coming to Calhoun today to present a check for $200,000 to the county school system. The money is being used on improvements to the athletic complex and the new county board office and bus garage at the Mt. Zion campus.


GOOB HAS WALKING PARTY - Ryan "Goob" Fitzwater is upright and walking, rebounding from a near-fatal tractor accident while harvesting hay near the Village of Hur. A large number of folks showed up for hot dogs, hamburgers and refreshments, but mostly to celebrate a living victory for "The Goob."

Yesterday his family had a "Walking Party" to express their appreciation to their friends and community members who offered support, work and prayers during a difficult time.

The first army reservists from our area have been activated to duty today in response to the national crisis.

About ten members of the 305th Military Police Unit from Calhoun and the region are reporting to the Big Bend armory today, and will leave for Wheeling this evening for further placement.

LOCAL RESERVISTS ACTIVATED - The first army reservists from our area have been activated to duty today in response to the national crisis.

About ten members of the 305th Military Police Unit from Calhoun and the region are reporting to the Big Bend armory today, and will leave for Wheeling this evening for further placement.

LIGHTS ON! CELEBRATES - The "Light's On!" celebration Monday at Calhoun Middle-High School acknowledged some of the many programs being delivered. "Dozens of the summer programs have already touched the lives of many people," said Tony Russell, project director.

Several hundred people mixed during the social hour prior to the Wheeling Symphony concert, and met with kids and parents who have participated. Fireworks concluded the evening.

BIG NEWS - CALHOUN IN BLACK - Calhoun County is legitimately in the black, despite a dwindling tax base and income. County Clerk Richard Kirby said the current audit and financial statements show the fiscal condition of the county to be sound.

Commissioners Weaver, McCallister and Barr gave credit to the continued belt-tightening of every county office and employee. Calhoun County Sheriff Allen Parsons made significant concessions last year in his office to keep the county solvent.

FIRE DESTROYS PINE CREEK HOME - Fire completely destroyed a Pine Creek residence about noon yesterday. Huge billows of smoke erupted from the mobile home and add-on rooms, as the Grantsville Volunteer Fire Department arrived. The structure was occupied by Jerry and Mildred Vandale. They were not at home at the time. Ammunition and other minor explosions could be heard as firemen approached the structure.

TWO YEAR OLD STRUCK BY CAR - Two-year-old Kayla Jones, daughter of Kristin Jones, died Friday of severe trauma to the head in Womens and Children's Hospital in Charleston. The child was struck by a car Thursday evening on Sugar Camp Road off Yellow Creek.

The child reportedly ran across the road and was struck by a newly licensed female driver, who was not charged. The infant is the granddaughter of Nick and Terry Jones, who reside on Sugar Camp.

GRANTSVILLE BRIDGE NAMED FOR MEDAL WINNER - He was a Calhoun boy who went off to the great war against Adolph Hitler. At dawn's early light on December 18, 1944, far from his quiet country life at Henrietta, Bernard Pius Bell met the enemy face to face, with terror, heroism and survival in Mittelwihr, France.

He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his "bold and aggressive leadership" which enabled his eight-man squad to drive back about 150 of the enemy, capturing 42 and killing 47. Bell personally killed more than 20 and captured 33 enemy soldiers. He became one of America's great World War II heroes.

GOODRICH SHUTTING DOWN - Goodrich says a sudden downturn since the events of September 11 is why the Spencer plant is being closed. The facility is expected to close sometime in 2002 with 147 employees losing their jobs. The company is eliminating a total of 2,400 positions, affecting three plants.

Goodrich in Spencer would not confirm the number of employees from Calhoun County, but a worker said "It could be almost half." Calhoun resident John Simmers is president of the local union, and Scott Bunch is vice-president.

Goodrich is claiming the jobs will not be going abroad, but sources close to the situation say that is not true.

EARTH SLIDE CAUSES DEEP WELL PROBLEMS - Hundreds of tons of earthen fill broke loose from Ardent Resources deep well site along Route 5 yesterday morning, knocking down electric poles and causing a loss of power. The deep well rig, according to a spokesperson, was not hindered.

A large chunk of earth on the eastern end of the site broke loose about 4 a.m. and slid down the steep hillside toward Route 5 near the mouth of Bull River, two miles from Grantsville. Power was out from the Bethlehem Church to the Gilmer County line most of the day.


METHODIST OUTREACH MISSION DEDICATED - It really happened, the building of a new Mission Center by the United Methodist Church at Minnora. Yesterday was dedication day after months of fund raising and hard work, particularly from New Hampshire volunteers. The church faithful came all the way to Calhoun to erect the building and many of them came back for the dedication yesterday. Dozens of local people helped with the completion. It was an inspiring dedication as Methodist Bishop Clifton Ives said that many people will "Come to this place, sometimes with desperate needs, to feel the presence of God."

District Superintendent Rev. Bill Miller spoke softly to the group, "You are God's precious people." The clergymen participated in a communion service on the lawn in front of the new building and several singing groups performed. Gratitude was expressed to the many volunteers who helped with the project, including those from New Hampshire.

HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR SPEAKS AT HEARTWOOD - Edith Bell, a holocaust survivor, shared her experiences with a group of people at Heartwood in the Hills this past Sunday. "We often forget each of the six million people killed by the Nazis was a person, a member of a family, a neighbor and a friend," she said.

She recalled her school day being started by standing and saluting with "Hail Hitler," and being required to march and sing patriotic songs, many of which were anti-Jewish. Neighbors started saying "The Jews are doing (bad) things, but we don't mean you." Cartoons in newspapers began to portray Jews in a negative light, and her boyfriend and parents got "picked-up" by the Nazis. Bell said they started hauling Jews, gays, lesbians and other minorities away in railroad cattle cars, destinations unknown, and later demanded minority groups "Turn themselves in."

SCHOOL NUMBERS CAUSING MAJOR PROBLEM - "It is a major problem for our schools," the loss of 121 students in the Calhoun school system, according to Ron Blankenship, Calhoun Superintendent of Schools. "We have just lost 8.3% of our enrollment, the highest percentage in the State of West Virginia," he said. The system had 1309 students enrolled this week.

The recent loss of enrollment represents at least one-half million dollars in funding, and translates to further reductions in school personnel. About ten teachers could loose their jobs and five service personnel. The system has previously been hit by reductions in workforce (RIF).

Blankenship has been meeting with education officials in Charleston during the past weeks, and was scheduled to testify in a hearing yesterday regarding school financing. "The school financing formula is a main concern," said Board Member Carlene Frederick.

MAN KILLED NEAR CALHOUN-WIRT LINE - Richard Lee Smith, Jr., 26, of Big Bend died early Friday morning when he was thrown through the windshield of his pickup truck on Route 5 in Wirt County, according to the Wirt County Sheriff.

The accident happened about one mile from the Calhoun County line near the Creston straight. Patchy fog covered areas along the Little Kanawha River when Charleston Gazette carrier Wayne Thompson discovered the vehicle about 4:30 a.m. and notified authorities.

A GATHERING OF EAGLES - A Tribute To Kitty Wilson - It was a surprise tribute yesterday to Calhoun's longtime scoutmaster Kitty Wilson, whose scouting involvement has covered 44 years, 33 years as Scout Master of Troop #39. It was a gathering of Eagle Scouts, coming from far and wide to honor Wilson, who has given his human touch to scouting.

"Kitty has spent his time, his efforts, his talents and his money, helping our boys," said Jim Bennett. "What a tribute - 40 Eagle Scouts." The group, seated on the lawn of the Calhoun County Park, heard tribute after tribute to Wilson. "He told his boys to go as far as they can," said Assistant Scout Leader Richard Kirby. "He is the most unselfish man I have ever known. He never mistreated any boy and he treated them all the same."


HAY DONATED TO DROUGHT-RIDDEN CALHOUN FARMERS - Twenty-three Calhoun farmers received donated hay from Wisconsin farmers, Wednesday evening (9/29/30), transferring the hay from three tractor-trailers during the areas first rain shower in several weeks.

The donated hay, a surplus in that state, was trucked to West Fork Park at Arnoldsburg, to aid farmer's who are suffering from loss of hay production because of the drought.

Sue Jones, WVU Extension Agent, said the hay donations are "stop-gap measures." Several days ago, donated hay from the Carolinas was rejected because the bales contained fire ants.

She says the distribution of hay in Calhoun has been based upon need, after local farmers signed for the relief hay.

JOBS COULD COME TO CALHOUN - An Ohio call-in center is evaluating the availability of a workforce in Calhoun County and the surrounding area, according to Kris Warner, a Morgantown developer. Warner met recently with Calhoun business and community leaders to explore the possibility of job creation in the county.

Ads are being placed in five counties, including the Parkersburg News for "An Ohio company looking to expand in the Grantsville area." The company is actively seeking applicants for their $7 per hour jobs. The jobs have "full benefits."

Warner's company recently developed a business center in Keyser, where several hundred jobs have been created, in addition to one of his initial projects, the Grand Central Business Center in Morgantown.

SUSPECT FLEES GRANTSVILLE POLICE - A Harrisville man was arrested on multiple charges Saturday night (10/2/99) after Grantsville police chased the man for several miles, north on Route 16 toward the Ritchie line.

Jimmy Dale Edgell, 31, was spotted by Grantsville Police Chief, Ed Eisley about 10 p.m. Saturday night running a stop sign at the Route 5 and 16 intersection at a high rate of speed. "He was doing 75 mph in a 25 mph zone," said Eisley, who went in pursuit.

Edgell continued to flee from Eisley and Grantsville Patrolman, Jeff Smith, who assisted in a second police cruiser. Jumping from his motorcycle on Jackson Hill near Five Forks, the suspect fled into the woods, his bike apparently striking one of the police cruisers.

CALHOUN WOMEN INJURED IN I-79 ACCIDENT - Two Calhoun women sustained injuries, one seriously, when a tractor-trailer rig forced them off I-79 at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Sandy Osborne, Director of the Family Resource Network, suffered a severe neck injury, fractured arm, lacerations to her head and multiple other injuries.

She was taken to Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital in Weston where she was life-flighted to WVU Hospital in Morgantown for emergency surgery and treatment. The fifth and sixth neck vertebrae received fractures and had to be repaired. "The odds appear to be in her favor to remain ambulatory," the source said. "She is rapidly improving."

Nelle Jean Smith-Hasley of Grantsville, who had accompanied Osborne to a meeting at West Virginia Wesleyan College, also sustained injuries, but was released with an ankle injury and lacerations.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY RECEIVES GRANT - West Virginia U.S. Representatives Bob Wise and Alan Mollohan have announced that the Calhoun County Historical and Genealogical Society are to be the recipients of a grant in the amount of $225,000 to be used "to establish a permanent home for the historical objects and documents it has collected."

Added the bill to fund the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the fiscal year 2000, the bill, having passed in both the House and Senate, will now go to President Clinton for his signature.

Rep. Mollohan commended the Historical Society and its president, Bob Bonar, for their efforts in preserving elements from the county's past and making genealogical records available to the public.

GRANTSVILLE MANOR STRUCK BY FIRE - A major fire at Grantsville Manor was averted Saturday evening after a closet fire rapidly spread in the second story of Apartment Three. No injuries were reported, although the James Glenn family had to flee to the parking lot.

Grantsville Police Chief, Ed Eisley, said the Glenn's eight-year-old son had taken a cigarette lighter from the downstairs area of the apartment and entered a closet at the back of the second story. "Apparently he was playing with the lighter," he said.

The fire was confined to an area around the closet, but the entire apartment and its contents received severe smoke and water damage. Smoke was pouring from the building when firemen arrived.