Bill Stewart Named As WVU Coach Tops 2008
Ormet started up its sixth and final potline. New Martinsville native Bill Stewart led the West Virginia University Mountaineer football team to a victory in the Fiesta Bowl, beating the Oklahoma Sooners 48-28. The next day the interim head coach was given the job to lead the gold and blue. Carbon monoxide nearly killed three Brooklyn residents. Ernest Higginbotham Jr. was arrested for wanton endangerment for firing a gun into a vehicle with three passengers on Apple Street in New Martinsville. County commission and board of education races each have five candidates file for election.
Excessive precipitation caused the National Weather Service to predict an Ohio River crest of one-and-a-half feet above flood stage. While residents prepared for the worst, the mighty river never spilled over its banks. Public outcry against changing the area code for the northeastern part of West Virginia, including Wetzel County, resulted in an overlay plan that only affects new telephone numbers. A Wetzel County chapter of the West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization forms.
WVU Football Head Coach Bill Stewart and Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel return home to New Martinsville and Paden City to excited and appreciative crowds. Wetzel County 4-H/FFA Ham and Bacon Show set a new world record be selling a special FFA Carhartt jacket for $3,000. A public meeting in Pine Grove brought out citizens who live outside the city limits opposed to a sewer extension that would require them to connect to the service. The Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce terminated the employment of its office manager, Carolyn Long, and began an internal audit.
The Paden City Development Authority approved a $1,000,001 bid from Sprouse Building Products, Inc., to purchase the Paden City Industrial Park. Three Paden City residents filed for election to the office of mayor. The Pine Grove 2007 water and sewer rate increase is deemed lawful. Jesse Ault, who spent many of his formative years in the Shortline area and whose mother, Virginia “Ginny” Billiter, lives in Paden City, was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb. An illegal immigration operation involving the El Caporal Restaurante in New Martinsville is busted by Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Pine Grove Council votes to give a $724,000 grant back to the United State Environmental Protection Agency to repair municipal sewer lines and extend sewer service to Galmish and Barker. Magnolia High School’s Technology Students of America wins the state TSA title for the 13th consecutive year.
New Martinsville City Council changes the employee policy manual to limit the number of city vehicles that can be driven home each evening to one per department. Hundred Council tabled an ordinance that would require landlords to be responsible for garbage and police fees for their rental properties. Scott Lemley won the Democratic nomination for county commissioner and would face the sole Republican candidate, Larry Weekley, in the General Election. Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. John Brookover was named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. William B. Fox was elected mayor of Paden City. Paden City Elementary School Student Sean Staats’ doodle was selected to be one of 40 best entries to Google in the United States, making his artwork part of an internet contest for the best Doodle4Google. Wetzel County Landfill workers attend a Wetzel County Commission meeting to try to gain support for a West Virginia Public Service Commission fee increase that would reportedly result in increased wages. Rising fuel costs were hitting all budgets hard and the Wetzel County Commission agreed to find $6,800 to underwrite fuel costs for the sheriff’s remaining fiscal year.
Five local men were charged with grand larceny and conspiracy in Marshall County for the alleged theft of over $20,000 in redeemable materials, primarily copper. The Wetzel County Board of Education named Kathi Schmalz as the principal of MHS, replacing retiring Timothy W. Haught. After a highly contested election, the Hundred Town Council declared Keith Williams fire chief.
Lucille Blum was sworn in as the new mayor of New Martinsville. New Martinsville raised its electric bills by 1.768 centers per kilowatt hour, or $34.50 for an average customer. J. Ford Huffman was recognized as the 2008 Paden City Distinguished Alumni. A mixing error resulted in a dangerous chemical reaction and release of chlorine gas at Wetzel County Hospital; no one was injured. Celebrations in the county included the Wileyville Homecoming, Arts in the Park, Festival of Memories, Hundred Area Independence Day Celebration, and Pine Grove Fourth of July celebration. Rescuers found the body of Troy Hammerstone in Fishing Creek near the marina on Harlan Drive in New Martinsville; Hammerstone had reportedly been jumping off the dock there. Plans began for new soccer, baseball, and softball fields after Solid Waste Services, also known as Lackawanna Transport Company, had announced that as of Sept. 1 the fields on their property on the southern end of Main Street in New Martinsville would be unavailable for use.
The 62nd Jacksonburg Homecoming was held, as was Town and Country Days featuring Bucky Covington and Marty Stuart. Hundred Town County agreed to loan $4,000 to the financially strapped Hundred Volunteer Fire Department that needed to make an $8,100 payment for their large fire truck. New Martinsville native Greg Babe was named president and chief executive officer of Bayer AG’s U.S. subsidiary based in Robinson, Pa., to take effect Oct. 1.
Paden City hosted its 60th Labor Day Celebration. The West Virginia Chiefs of Police Association presented a life saver award to New Martinsville Police Department Patrolman Don Larsen for his brave acts in saving three people from a poisonous carbon-monoxide situation in January. Gov. Joe Manchin visits Valley High School and touts the School Prevention Resource Officer program, manifested at VHS by Wetzel County Sheriff’s Deputy Donald Bordenkircher. VHS Student Dalton L. Willis was killed in a single-vehicle dirt bike accident. Carolyn Long avoids prosecution by paying a little over $15,000 in restitution to the Wetzel County 4-H and $2,347 to the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce. An 18-year-old Cameron girl was allegedly stabbed 13 times and left for dead in Reader.
A grease fire in the kitchen of the Byrd Center in Pine Grove closed the building for about a week. AutumnFest and Chili-Fest are held. The Wetzel County Board of Education named Janice Moore of VHS and Shortline School Teacher of the Year. Michael Poulton received a five-year sentence for the arson of a Hillside home.
Procon LLC announced they will be the first tenant in the Wetzel County Industrial Park that has remained vacant since it was built seven years ago. Democrat Lemley wins a seat on the county commission. One hunter died and one was in critical condition for carbon monoxide poisoning inside a small utility trailer on Four Mile. Bayer announced plans to cut 70 positions in 2009.
Long Drain School was designated as a 2008 Title I Distinguished School by the West Virginia Department of Education. The Wetzel County Commission agreed to take part in the state “purchasing card” program. The Silver Hill Volunteer Fire Department was the location for a meeting concerning the condition of and safety on roads in the county, particularly that area. The issues stem from frequent use of the roads by large oil/gas vehicles. Commission President Barbara A. King was recognized for her 18 years of service as she left office.