2018: A Year In Review
The year 2018 is almost history, and thus, your Wetzel Chronicle staff reflects on 12 months of news in Wetzel County. We hope you enjoy our annual recap, as we share pieces of just some of the stories we reported on in 2018. We look forward to bringing you the local news in 2019, and we wish our readers a Happy New Year.
In January we reported on the Esther Crumbley annual giveaway from December 2017. Approximately 450 families, or approximately 1,600 individuals, were helped in 2017 through the giveaway. Approximately 40 volunteers assisted with the program.
In other charitable kindness, we reported on the “Calm Stocking of Cheer” program, which gave stockings filled with items to 1,127 Wetzel County children in December. We also reported on the 2017 “Shop with a Cop” event, which helped 15 local students.
Flooding affected the area in mid-January, and residents of the riverfront areas were worried about river flooding. However, the Ohio River crested at about 29.34 feet in mid-January, while flood stage is 35 feet. However, several docks were damaged due to higher waters and large chunks of ice.
The Wetzel County Commission agreed January 16, 2018 to renew the Wetzel County Air Evac.
Also in January, the Wetzel County Board of Education recognized Kandy Stephen. For the past couple of years Stephen had worked each evening as a custodian at New Martinsville School. Prior to her shift at NMS, she attended classes at West Liberty, fervently working hard to achieve her goal of being a school teacher.
Meanwhile, the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce held an annual membership meeting on Jan. 18, recollecting the year 2017. More than 20 members were added to the chamber in 2017.
The Valley High School Sportsman’s Club made headlines in January as members of the group delivered firewood to a disabled veteran in Tyler County.
Local educators and school service personnel held informational walk-ins in early-to-mid February, as they expressed concerns for adequate pay and insurance. Work stoppages were held at area schools by the end of February.
The Wetzel Chronicle celebrated Valentine’s Day in February by sharing an interview with Ralph and Jeannette Conklin, who had recently celebrated 71 years in October 2017.
Meanwhile, the community celebrated the high school graduation of 90-year-old veteran Carloss Gray, who had left high school to serve his country during World War II. Gray graduated from Paden City High School in February 2018.
More heavy and steady rains made for flooding in mid-February. The Ohio River at Hannibal Lock and Dam reached as high as 35.61 feet in February. Flooding was experienced at local parks, including Paden City Park. Also, New Martinsville Park experienced flooding, along with Magnolia High School’s track and football field.
Wetzel County educators and school service personnel returned to school buildings in early March as Governor Jim Justice announced a five percent pay raise for state employees and pledged to take a look at insurance as well.
Also in March, the Wetzel County 4-H/FFA Ham and Bacon show set a record total of $75,240.13, soaring above the previous year’s total of $51,789.25. Several Wetzel County students also excelled at the West Virginia state Ham, Bacon, and Egg Show and Sale. Hundred High School took high honors as Cody Soles took home the title for Grand Champion Bacon. Savannah Horner took home the title for Reserve Champion Bacon. Several other Wetzel County students placed at the event as well.
Wetzel County Schools also celebrated the accomplishments of educator Leslie Lively in March. Lively was announced as the 2018 recipient of the Bob Thompson Excellence in Energy Award.
Meanwhile, Carolyn Hizer, Martha Doiron, and Abbe Stackpole were announced as 2018 JASON Argonauts for Wetzel County Schools.
Eric Anderson was announced as publisher of the Wetzel Chronicle, Tyler Star News, and Green Tab in April.
The Wetzel Chronicle reported on United States Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s visit to New Martinsville School, as part of her “West Virginia Girls Rise Up” initiative.
Also in April, the Lighthouse Child Advocacy Center planted pinwheels throughout lawns of businesses and organizations, marking awareness of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Meanwhile, New Martinsville Parks and Recreation partnered with the YWCA Wheeling Family Violence Prevention Program and the New Martinsville Police Department to offer a women’s self defense class.
Also in April, The Back Home Appalachian Arts & Music Festival announced Abby the Spoon Lady as part of the summer concert’s line-up.
The Wetzel Chronicle published a plethora of information in April concerning the May 2018 Primary Election. Local organizations such as the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce and Wetzel County Farm Bureau also organized forums for local candidates.
The Wetzel Chronicle covered a blood drive at St. Vincent de Paul’s Klug Hall on April 19. We spoke with Roger Lee Hartline, who has donated more than seven gallons of blood over the past 10 years. Hartline was inspired by his daughter, who had acute myeloid leukemia as a child. Hartline saw how much blood was needed to adequately treat his daughter and understood what a difference blood donation could make in someone’s life.
The National Day of Prayer was held in May with an observance held in New Martinsville. The theme of the event was “Unity.”
Meanwhile, Paul Fuchs shared his experience as trail boss for RFD TV’s Best of America by Horseback.
May also marked the annual Dustin “Dusty” Wade Memorial Car Show, which yielded $4,473.75 to go to the area’s local Shriner’s Club, in Tyler County.
The Wetzel Chronicle reported May 2018 Primary Election results. Gregory A. Morris captured the Democratic nod for the Wetzel County Commission. In the race for three vacant seats on the Wetzel County Board of Education, Amy Cooley, Brian Price, and Jay Yeager received the nod of Wetzel County citizens.
There were several close New Martinsville races, but after the dust settled, Steve Pallisco won the nod for his ward. Jeff Gieseke and Ryan Yost received victories. Kimberly Whiteman was elected recorder, while Chief Tim Cecil was re-elected to his position. Gary Willey was re-elected to his position as street commissioner.
Happy tears highlighted New Martinsville City Council’s May meeting, as New Martinsville Police Chief Tim Cecil, Detective Donnie Harris, Patrolmen Jason Utt and Timothy Chichick, and Dispatcher Iris Isaacs received Distinguished Service awards for the roles they played in saving a baby boy.
The Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce held its annual Community Awards reception and ceremony on Thursday, May 15. Winners were Leslie Lively, Educator of the Year; Joey Barker, Citizen of the Year; New Martinsville Police Department Sergeant Don Larsen, Employee of the Year; NMPD Patrolman Jason Utt, Professional of the Year; Teran Malone, Youth Leadership of the Year; Mollie Baker, Entrepreneur of the Year; Erika and Rob Donaghy, Business Owner of the Year; Lighthouse Child Advocacy Center, Civic Organization of the Year; and Holden Rine, Special Recognition Award.
Several Memorial Day observances were held throughout the area as those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country were honored.
The Wetzel Chronicle celebrated local high school graduations in June. The following were recognized as leading their classes: Sophie Palmer, Valley High School valedictorian; McKenzie Melott, VHS salutatorian; Aubrey Neff, Paden City High School valedictorian; Levi Goddard, PCHS valedictorian; Joshua “Niko” Glover, PCHS salutatorian; Tyler Simms, Hundred High School valedictorian; Amber Yoho, HHS salutatorian; Alavia Anderson, Magnolia High School valedictorian; Katie Hamrick, MHS salutatorian; Rachal Wetzel, MHS salutatorian; Peyton Hall, River High School valedictorian; Kristen Yost, RHS salutatorian; Hanna Blake, vocational valedictorian.
June also marked Relay for Life and the Vintage Regatta events.
In June, the United States Attorney’s Office announced 31 indictments in an extensive drug ring. Several area residents were named.
Wetzel County Board of Education’s Michael D. Blair was honored at the close of June, as he ended 16 years of service to the school system. Blair was first elected to the board in 2002 and was re-elected to three more terms. Blair noted the greatest asset in Wetzel County Schools is the staff.
This concludes our review of Wetzel County news for the first half of 2018. Our Jan. 2 edition of the Wetzel Chronicle will conclude our “2018: A Year in Review,” as we look back on some of the news we reported from our July through December 2018 publications.