Paden City Makes Most of 2015
Paden City had a banner year filled with notable events that ranged from babies to parking and police chiefs to water woes.
Among the year’s highlights include how Patrolman Josh Helmick saved a baby’s life in December.
PCPD Interim Police Chief Timothy Shreve reported that while Helmick was on patrol Dec. 10, he was flagged down by the mother of the child. The mother advised Helmick that her baby was choking and could not breathe.Helmick sprang into action by taking the baby into his arms and patting it on the back. The baby then began coughing up mucus and saliva. The baby then began to breathe normally and its coloring returned to normal. Helmick advised the mother to take her child to Sistersville General Hospital immediately. Helmick, who has been an officer with PCPD since August, is headed to state police academy in January.
Helmick was honored with the Life Savers Award for his quick thinking.
Paden City Mayor John “Hoppy” Hopkins said at the time that he is very proud of Helmick.
“He seems to be a natural at the job, and he’s only been here a short time,” Hopkins added. “He’s the kind of officer we like to have.”
Staffing the police department made headlines time and again.
Council hired Joey Richardson as police chief in July after Michael Kelly resigned for health reasons.
Richardson, a 10-year veteran of law enforcement, attended the state police academy and has additional skills and qualifications. He is a military veteran having served in Kuwait and received a medical discharge. He began his law enforcement career as an officer with the Sistersville Police Department and later went to work for the Tyler County Sheriff’s office as a deputy.
Richardson’s time as police chief would be short.
Council suspended Richardson October 14 as he faces domestic battery charges. Richardson was arrested Oct. 12 by state police responding to a domestic disturbance at his residence in Friendly. He allegedly attacked a woman multiple times and slammed her against a wall, according to the criminal complaint. Richardson was charged with domestic battery and unlawful restraint and remains free on $10,000 bond.
State police have not released anything to city leaders regarding the report being prepared about allegations involving Richardson.
Richardson’s hearing in Tyler County Magistrate Court is scheduled for Wednesday.
Sergeant Shreve, who has served on the city police force about three years, was appointed as interim police chief in October.
During ordinary times, the police department boasts four full-time officers and maybe a part-time officer.
Office Justin Wade notified council that Oct. 31 was to be his last shift. With Richardson’s and Wade’s departure, only two of the four police officers remained on staff until council hired a new policeman.
During a special meeting Dec. 12, city council approved hiring Raphe Bailes as a full-time police officer. Though Bailes is new to law enforcement, he has experience with Wetzel County’s EMS and service as a firefighter with the Shirley and Middlebourne volunteer fire departments. He will attend the state Police Academy in the spring.
Parking restrictions captured City Hall’s attention during the fall when Nancy Raper asked council to address her concerns about why she and her husband, Tim, are no longer allowed to park in front of their home on Robinson Street. Earlier this year, the state’s Department of Highways asked council to prohibit parking along Robinson Street because it is a state road. The DOH sought council’s blessing, which council provided since it has no power to regulate state roads.
Raper said she felt her family was being singled out. “Do you not feel it is discrimination?” she asked.
Hopkins reminded Raper that Robinson Street is a state road, so council can’t do anything to help her resolve her problems. He advised her to take up the matter with the state, not council.
Council dealt with water woes at various points throughout the year.
Council is actively exploring proposals to pump more water to residents of Meadows Heights. In October, the state’s Public Service Commission inspected water pressure problems associated with Meadow Heights. The PSC reported that the city has the ability to pump more water to that area and recommended increasing water pressure as well infrastructure improvements.
Beverly Gibb and her husband, Bob, sought answers council about the water problems they endure at their home in Meadow Heights. Sometimes their home has no water pressure, but more recently they’ve had no water.
Hopkins said Thrasher Engineering of Bridgeport is drafting a proposal to address the low pressure situation in that subdivision.
But police, water and other pressing issues were not the only thing that happened in the town by the Ohio River.
The city’s Fall Festival in October brought out scores of people intent on tasting apple butter or perhaps buying crafts. Temperatures hovered in the upper 60s on a sunny day filled with colored trees that had just begun to shed their leaves. Hopkins and his wife, Barbara, canned countless glass jars of apple butter made from John Prince and Cortland apples, spices and more. Dozens of local folks and children got a small taste of the home brew from Hopkins’ among other apple butter chefs as they attended the festival.
In April, City Hall received a transportation grant of $80,000 that was used to build a sidewalk from Paden City Elementary School to Van Camp Street. The project sought to improve safety for students walking to and from the school. The grant was awarded by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and representatives from the West Virginia Division of Highways and the Federal Highway Administration’s West Virginia Division Office. The group handed out more than $5.6 million in Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grants to 42 projects across West Virginia.