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2020 In Review

By Staff | Jan 6, 2021

As we start the New Year, we would be remiss if we failed to bring back some of the great memories of 2020. We must also remember the sad state of affairs brought on by COVID-19 which hit us full force beginning in March. While 2020 was a disappointment to many there was also highlights that we all enjoyed.

January, 2020, was still bringing us good cheer as local students at Hundred High School were introduced to the Challenge Program, Inc., during an assembly at their school. Through the program students were introduced to local career opportunities. The Wetzel County Commission presented a plaque to members of the United Mine Workers of America supporting their efforts in obtaining guaranteed pensions and helath care coverage they were promised through past contracts with the coal operators and a promise made in 1946 by President Harry Truman and the govenrment. Two local businesses were recognized as best of West Virginia. Barristas cafe and pub was awarded regional winner for best watering hole, and Back Home Appalachian Art and Music Festival was awarded for best Fair/Festival.

O’Reilly Auto Parts opened a new store along Rt. 2 near the Villa’s in New Martinsville. Gordmans replaced Peoples in the plaza near McDonalds. The move was part of Gordmans quest to convert it’s Peebles and Goddy’s stores into one department store. Gordmans later closed its New Martinsville location leaving another empty building in the Plaza.

New Martinsville Lions Club and WCCCF teamed together to donate food and presents to local families. New Martinsville Rotary recognized January students of the month Kortni Henderson and Zoey Jenkins.

New Martinsville native Eddie Mensore produced and directed an award winning movie titled Mine 9. The movie opened in several states to sold out audiences, and became the top movie most people in Appalacia wanted to see. The movie was shown locally at the Highlands Cinema’s in Wheeling to a sellout audience.

Wetzel County HomeCare earned top quality and performance rankings receiving a 5-Star rating in both quality and patient satisfaction.

Wetzel County Hospital signed a letter of intent to join the West Virginia University Health System. Wetzel County Schools received a highest increase in Math Scores in the State. Wetzel County Schools Elementary Math Coach Pam Christy was ecstatic about this, explaining that the increase is proof they are moving in the right direction. Hundred High School teacher Hannah Sapp and students Hunter Tustin, Cole Henderson and Isaac Price attended the Youth Leadership Fall Conference at Jackson Mills.

Magnolia Blue Eagles boys basketball team won the annual Boggs Roundball Classic Championship Game at Tyler Consolidated High School over Clarsburg Liberty.

Dominion Energy donated $5,000 to the Wetzel County Museum for their feed the need program. Hundred Branch of Union Bank made their annual contibutions to local community support organizations.

February – Paden City officials released a public announcement in regard to contaminated drinking water in the community. Hundreds Cody Soles scored a triple double as the Hornets defeated Meadow Bridge in a WV-HIT game. Martin Baker hit for 18 points in Hundreds win over cross county rival Valley.

Paden City high school band members Walter Joy and Isaac Neff were recognized as All-State Band Members by the Wetzel County Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Ed Toman.

Paden City residents rally at council meeting demanding transparent answers from the city about their drinking water.

Hundreds Cody Soles scores 1,000th point for Hornets in a win over Montcalm, to propel the Hornets to the WVHIT Championship game.

Paden City Elementary school sent four winner of the Young Writers competition at the County level on to the state competition. Those students were Grace Greene, Isabella Thompson, Libby Greene and Amber Cox.

Magnolia’s Silas McKeever and Mikey Hamrick named first team All-OVAC football at the annual awards banquet.

Former New Martinsville Mayor and Magnolia High School teacher Lucille Blum was inducted into the New Martinsville Museum Hall of Fame on February 22, 2020.

Paden City breaks ground on new Water Stripper Plant which Mayor Clyde Hochstrasser believed would eliminate 99.9 percent of the tetrachloroethylene contaminent from the towns drinking water. The plant was financed by the United States Department of Agriculture at a cost of $570,000.

Paden City Elementary student John Mace wins Gettysburg Address contest sponsored by the American Legion Auxillary Post 86 in Paden City. Hundred students honored for their role in voter registration. Secretary of State Mac Warner recnetly presented awrds to Logan Norris and Matthew Riley.

March – Bayer Heritage Credit Union makes donations to American Cancer Society of $45,722.00; WVU’s New Medicine Tower in the amount of $50,000 and $120,531 to Children’s Miracle Network.

New Martinsville Rotary names Ashley Kelly and Paige Brill students of the month for March. Cub Scout Pack 103 held their annual Pinewood Derby at the New Martinsville United Methodist Church, Damien Vancamp Grand Champion 1st Place, Trey Satow 2nd place, and Isaac Dietrich 3rd place.

Wetzel County Ham, Bacon and Egg Sale held at Wetzel County 4-H grounds. The event raised $77,865, the Grand Champion Ham was exhibited by Matthew Fordyce and purchased by Eric Yost a candidate for Wetzel County commissioner.

On March 18, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced the closing of all Pre-K through 12 schools in the state due to COVID-19.

New Martinsville begins community cleanup campaign starting May 15-16, July 17-18 and September 18-19 all questions concerning the cleanup were asked to call city hall at 304-455-9120.

Magnolia Boys Basketball team earned a trip to the state basketball tournament in Charleston with a regional win over Cameron. However prep sports were shut down and at a standstill after an announcement by the West Virginia Superintendent of schools

Paden City Water Crisis Group formed by four ladies in the town organized a free water handout for the community which was held on March 14. Paden City Tasty Freeze, a part of the community for over 25 years under the present ownership offered free breakfast to area school children living in Paden City. The Tasy Freeze has also given free Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter dinners to the needy in the past.

Hundred’s Cody Soles was named captain of the All-Wetzel/Tyler Basketball team.

April – Valley High Schools Gunner Stillwagoner was awarded State Grand Champion Ham winner at the 2020 State FFA Ham and Bacon Show. Jarod Young of Magnolia received the Reserve Ham title, the Grand Bacon title was awarded to Jacob Kuhn of Hundred, and Reserve Bacon winner was Callie Briggs of Valley High School.

Wetzel County natives Ken and Jennifer Mason presented WVU with a gift of all new seats for the WVU Coliseum. They donated funding for 14,000 plus seats to replace the 50 year old original seats. The gift was given after Ken had discussions with WVU Coach Bob Huggins, who mentioned to him they were hoping to get new ones some day.

Governor Justice extends school closers until April 20th, the order included public and private schools. Wetzel County Board of Education holds meetings Via Zoom, with broadcast live on Youtube. Steve Yoho 911 Director for Wetzel County presents Wetzel County Commission with COVID-19 update.

Communities in Wetzel and Tyler Counties close parks and walking trails to the public after Governor Justice closed all state parks and campgrounds.

New Martinsville uses operation “Be Kind” to help as many people as they can during the pandemic. They used city workers and officials to hand out nonperishable foods to the community after receiving help from US Pipeline in purchasing the foods.

Organizers of the annual Back Home Festival cancelled the event for 2020 due to the increase in COVID-19 in the area. New Martinsville Police investigate a series of breakins, which included the Chapman Dental Group Building.

Solid Waste Authority summer trash cleanup program teams up with Wetzel County Commission to clean up trash along Wetzel County Roads. Litman Excavating won a contract for widing WV Rt 2 for two miles from Kent to Franklin. Litman was awarded the job at a cost of $21.9 million.

New Martinsville Rotary helps feed hungry as they joined forces with Mounsville and Wheeling clubs. Together they packaged over 20,000 meals in one event held at the Moundsville fair grounds. Mountain Valley Veterinary Clinic donates $800 for local animal shelters. Paden City Music in the Park cancelled for 2020. Wetzel County Relay for Life announces its cancellation for 2020.

May – Penny Morris President of the Annual New Martinsville Vintage Regatta which had been scheduled for June 20-21 announced the event had been cancelled for this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

American Electric Power, Inc., announced Magnolia’s Paige Brill as one of their 2020 scholarship recipients. Paige plans to attend WVU to study nursing. The Wetzel County BOE announced that Debra Price a teacher at Paden City High School and Band Director was selected as teacher of the year.

Wetzel County farmers market opened May 21, as a drive through event. The market changed locations to the North end of Bruce Park to accomodate vehicles as they travel in one direction towards the vendors.

Memorial day services were held throughout the area with the annual Greenlawn Cemetary services held with Post 28 providing the gun salute and Matt Bland playing taps.

New Martinsville Residents Earl and Marsha Smith honored the New Martinsville Police Department with a sheet cake for their continued ser vice to the community, and in celebration of National Police Week.

June – Wetzel County Commission contributes to New Martinsville’s Operation Be Kind, with a generous donation. All three Commissioners Larry Lemon, Lisa Heasley and Greg Morris voted to give financial aid towards the operation.

Golden Horseshoe Winners, Shiv Patel, of New Martinsville School, Isaac Beverlin of Paden City High School and Madeline Delaney of New Martinsville School were all recognized by the Wetzel County BOE and Superintendent Ed Toman at the Boards regular meeting.

Paden City water department reports they received a result of no detection of PCE in the water. This report came after testing following the May 8, start up of the stripper plant.

New Martinsville Rotary honors April and May students of the month at their June meeting held at Quinets restaurant. April students of the month were Trey Blain and Abigail Baker. May students of the month were Jake Gamble and Sierra Walker.

Wetzel County Commission matches Broadband Grant to benefit an estimated 1,400 homes in Wetzel County.

Sandy Hunt wins New Martinsville Mayor race beating out incumbent Steve Bohrer 690 votes to 515. David Hoffman placed third with 360 votes. Linda Fonner and Brian Castilow win seats on the Wetzel County Board of Education. Donnie Harris longtime local police officer, city court Judge, and detective won the race for Wetzel County Magistrate.

Tad Fitzimmons memorial scholarships go to Destiny Harrison of Paden City and Lara Smith a graduate of Magnolia High School.

Valley High School students Elizabeth Conley and McKinlee Yoho selected as RAZE Ambassadors for the 2020-21 school year.

July – Wetzel County Convention and Visitors Bureau purchases the former Cinema 3 to keep it from closing pernamently. It will be rebranded as “The Movie House”.

Mayor Steve Bohrer Honored for his years of service to the community as a councilman and Mayor. The celebration for Bohrer was held at city hall by city employees, councilmen and administrators.

Magnolia Seniors Joshua Rice and Paige Brill were awarded with the Jim Quinet Memorial Scholarship of $1,000 each. Hundred high schools Logan Norris a graduating student-athlete awarded the annual Jean Fox Huff Memorial Scholarship from the OVAC. The scholarship is sponsored by Doug Huff, retired sports editor of the Intelligencer newspaper and currator of the OVAC Sports Museum inside the Wesbanco Arena.

Local Wendy’s Restaurant donates to Wetzel County Charities. Among those receiving donations were the Wetzel County Commission on Aging, ($5,000), Community Resources ($2,500), and Relay for life of Wetzel County, ( $2,500).

Jake Gamble was awarded the Ryan Cisar Memorial Scholarship presented annually in memory of the former Blue Eagle athlete. Coach Dave Cisar and son Aaron Cisar made the presentation.

Local officials and dignitaries gathered at Wetzel County Hospital in New Martinsville to officially celebrate the Hospital joining the West Virginia University Health System.

Johnathan Yaron of Paden City completed his Eagle Scout Board of Review on May 29,2020. John started his path to Eagle as a Tiger Cub in the B.S.A. Cub Scout program, as a member of Pack 153.

Goodwill Hands out back packs, school supplies, and lunch pails to local kids at the Goodwill store in the New Martinsville Plaza. The Dally Library in Sardis, Ohio announced curbside services to the public during the pandemic.

John Yevuta, a local contributor to the Wetzel Chronicle and former New Martinsville School educator, continued his interviews with an amazing talk with Evelyn June Yoho of Reader, WV.

Hundred and Valley high schools both receive new fieldhouses for their football fields. Many other renovations and upgrades are in the works or have been completed at Wetzel County Schols.

July 24 – Paden City residents voted for a change in local government as lifetime resident of Paden City, Rick Casteel won the race for Mayor defeating incumbent Clyde Hochstrasser 207 – 125, easily winning all three wards.

Pine Grove – The family of David Paul Morgan dedicated a new park bench to the Robert C. Bryd Park in memory of David and his daughter Kim Dallison. Kim and David were well known in the area and loved by many. David was especially known by many as Santa Claus. Chuck Clegg writer for the Chronicle told the story of John Stearns, known around town as the keeper of the flowers. John uses a lawn tractor and water wand to care for the Downtown Main Street Flower Baskets. He does so as a volunteer.

August – Karina Patel and Levi Spratt graduates of Magnolia High School are awarded the Paul Cain Memorial Scholarships given to students who wish to continue their education through college or trade school.

New Martinsville Police officer Courtney South initiated a car chase which resulted in arrests and injuries along Rt. 2 near Walgreens. The pusuit ended when the reported stolen vehicle crashed disabling three vehicles.

Allen Rush and Sons donated 450 pounds of ground beef to the Catholic Charities St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry. The Rush family owns and operates a beef farm in Wetzel County.

Magnolia High School recognizes athletes during ceremony at Blue Eagles Bill Stewart Field, Jake Gamble and Paige Brill received New Martinsville Jr. Baseball Scholarships, Kyndra Pilant and Jake Gamble received the Charlie Morris Grasshopper Scholarships, Liza Clegg and Mikey Hanrick received the New Martinsville Jr. Football Scholarships, and Trey Blain and Paige Brill received the Athletic Booster Scholarships.

EQT donated more than $200,000 to local first responders. Wetzel County departments receiving $10,000 each included Hundred Volunteer Fire Department, Wileyville Volunteer Fire Department, and Jacksonburg Volunteer Fire Department. Peoples Bank donated $500 to the New Martinsville EMS, who planned to use the money for COVID-19 relief.

Police Chief Tim Cecil made a routine traffic stop on a vehicle with Ohio plates. Cecil found out the driver had no license and was out on probation in Ohio. He called for back up and a K-9. Upon a search of the vehicle it was discovered there were drugs and money, including 7 grams of Methamphetmine.

John Yevuta continues his interviews with a interesting story about local resident Gary Eller. Hundred Teacher Hanna Sapp was selected for the National History Day Summer Webinar Series. She was one of only 98 teachers selected for the program held at the University of Maryland. Harry E. and Olive T. Barth Charitable Trust accepts applications. Since 2016 the Barth Trust has awarded $497,054 to support local projects.

Paden City announces it will continue the tradition of the annual Labor Day parade.

2020 Jim Winters Memorial Scholarship Recipients named. The Jim Winters Scholarship awards Magnolia High School athletes who attend trade school or college. This years winners included Jake Gamble, Liza Clegg, and Sierra Walker, who eached recieved $500.

Amanda Jo Ice Memorial Scholarship recipients for 2020 are Kayna Anderson, Haleigh King, Paige Brill, and Abigail Baker.

Moose Lodge 31 Administrator Rich Earlewine announced 2020 winners. The New Martinsville Lodge has awarded over $164,000 to local students over the years.

New Martinsville RegattaFest Board of Directors vote to cancel event in 2020 due to COVID-19.

September – Paden City residents getting answers on groundwater contamination as the EPA continues to conduct testing at different sites in the community.

Wetzel County Commission President Larry Lemon address the New Martinsville Rotary on updates to the Shiben Building which is being renovated for county offices.

Paden City Wildcats Volleyball gets out to fast start with several wins. Magnolia, Valley, Hundred and Paden City Football seasons get underway. School resumes in the county. Magnolia Volleyball team looks to be tough with veteran squad. River Pilots football and Volleyball seasons kick off.

John Yevuta writes about local businessman and community leader Johnny Joe Mensore in a fasicnating interview. New Martinsville City Council Honors local police officers.

The Medal of Valor was given to Patrolman Courtney South for her handling of a stolen vehicle stop and apprehending three of the four suspects with one pulling a knife on her. The incident occurred on August 2, on the four lanes on Route 2.

Detective Donnie Harris, Patrolman Palmer, and Captain Steve Kastigar were also presented the Medal of Valor for their handling of a traffic stop on Harlan Drive, August 10, after Chief Cecil called for backup. The suspect had a loaded gun and meth in the vehicle. Dylan Brown, the suspect from Ohio was wanted for double homicide in Akron, Oh.

Sergeant Don Larsen was awarded the Medal of Valor for his life saving of a family of five from a burning house on August 30. It was noted that Larsen has saved a total of nine lives during his time serving on the force.

Councilman and Chairman of the Police Department Committee Joel Potts, presented the Medal of Valor to Chief Tim Cecil for his involvement of the incident August 10, on Harlan Drive.

Paden City Football season ends after team falls to 11 players. New Martinsville Jr. Baseball league signs lease agreement to use the former Cass Fields in the Brooklyn section of town. The area will now be recognized as Nathan Hassig Memorial Drive and the fields will be utilized by the NMJBS, INC.

Wetzel County Grand Jury Indicts 28 individuals in Wetzel County with one man charged with 74 counts of sexual crimes against children.

Fatal accident near Buck Run claims two lives. The accident involved three vehicles and intitial findings showed passing in a no passing zone may have been the cause of the crash.

Regattafest Announces Thunder Fireworks Display for Saturday, September 26th, at 8:00 pm, the free fireworks display presented by RegattaFest came with special music provided by our local radio stations: WETZ AM and FM (1330 AM and 93.1 FM) as well as 104.5 FM. It’s was a drive-in celebration, with guidelines to follow; there was plenty of parking throughout the downtown area, and the display was visible from many locations.

October – Dominion Energy employees volunteer their services to make renovations to the Pine Grove Public Library, painting the exterior and adding outdoor furniture.

Paden City Museum received needed improvements as volunteers worked to make upgrades in anticipation of re-opening to the public after being closed due to the COVID-19. The museum opened in 2000 in the old Middle School and a year later moved to the former Seaman’s Grocery store building on Main Street.

The Paden City Development Authority held a public meeting concerning its plan to submit a Brownfield Cleanup Grant to the EPA to assist in remediation of the former Corning Glass Plant now known as the Paden City Industrial Park.

The Wetzel County Commission donates $25,000 to the New Martinsville Junior Baseball and Softball, Inc. The NMJBS will be building four fields for baseball/softball and a flag football field for area youth.

Wetzel County relay for life holds drive thru event. The regular event was cancelled for this year due to the pandemic. Chairman Betty Klug said they wanted to do the event to honor survivors and fight back against cancer.

Magnolia Girls Volleyball team held senior night on October 1, honoring their five seniors Mady Winters, Victoria Hood, Alyssa Kocher, Lenieca Grimm and Shyanna White. The Blue Eagles defeated Valley on the night to improve their record to 8-3.

New Martinsville council voted unanimously to sell the old city hall building during their October 5, regular meeting. Paden City council approved trick or treat night from 6-7 p.m. on October 31. Paden City High School volleyball team improves to 16-1 by defeating River in three straight sets.

Paden City High School Thespians Awarded for their participation in the 2020 International Thespian Festival. Due to COVID-19 the festival was a virtual only event. The Troupe showcased actresses Anya Glover, Serenity Strother, Breigh Stillwagne, and Rachel Price. Paden City Garden Club stays active keeping up with the flowers throughout the downtown area.

Paden City girls win fourth straight OVAC Class-A Title in volleyball. The Wildcats used a huge comeback after being down 0-2 sets to win the next three and come out champions.

Early voting for the general election started in Wetzel County on October 2, with long lines leading into the courthouse, as COVID restrictions only allowed so many at one time. Social Distancing and masks were required.

River Pilots make noise in the Ohio Division VII, Region 27 football playoffs winning over a good Reedsville team 49-13. Magnolia won the annual backyard cross county brawl against Tyler 22-14. Paden City volleyball improved to 19-1 with win over Hundred as Mallory Yeater recorded her 2,000 career assist. Hundred’s Rachel Snedden ran a 23:38.44 in the regional cross country event to qualify for the state cross country meet.

November – Wetzel County Superintendent of Schools Ed Toman tests positive for Corona Virus. West Virginia National Guard called in to help with testing at the Wetzel/Tyler Health Department. Tom Cooper Tyler County Emergency Management Director sets up testing tents and trailers in Paden City at the Health Department parking lot. The newest outbreak in Wetzel County is believed to originated at the Genesis Nursing Home. Schools across West Virginia are shut down again due to the virus.

Shadyside routs River 42-9 in football playoffs to end Pilots season. Valley defeated Hundred 16-8 on Homecoming night. McKinlee Yoho was crowned homecoming Queen for the Lumberjacks.

Paden City met in special session on October 26, and unanimously approved moving forward with implementing a one percent sales tax on purchases within the city and on-line.

Election results from Wetzel County showed Democrat Carla McBee winning the only contested local race as she defeated Independent Allen Rush 3,546 to 2,463. Wetzel County voted for Donald J. Trump for President of the United State 4,933 to 3,299 for challenger Joseph Biden. Governor Jim Justice also recevied Wetzel Counties support with 4,407 to 1,13 for Ben Salango. Democrat David Pethtel was re-elected to the WV House of Delegates beating out challenger Phillip Wiley.

New Martinsville 7-Eleven donates $2,000 to the NMJSB, INC. Paden City Council declares December 4, as light up the town night, with the city crew decorating Centennial Park on the corner of Third and Main Street.

Paden City and Magnolia Volleyball teams forced out of tournament action due to local outbreak in the COVID-19. Paden City finished their season with a 19-1 record and the only defeat coming at the hands of the Blue Eagles. Most followers considered the Blue Eagles and Wildcats to be the top two Class-A teams in the state.

Paden City held a homecoming event with no football game on Berger field with social distancing measures taken. Senior Maggi Still was crowned 2020 Homecoming Queen.

Reisbeck Markets opens in New Martinsville after Witschey’s Market turned the keys over to them following 76 years serving New Martinsville and surrounding area. New Martinsville City officials presented Bill Witschey with the key to the city in a short ceremony at the store.

Wetzel County Commissioner Lisa Heasley received recognition as she was honored as one of West Virginia’s Outstanding Democrats of the Year, during a virtual 2020 Roosevelt-Kennedy Celebration on October 24.

Prodigy Wellness Center holds Diabetes Dash 5-K. Over 200 people participated on November 14, in downtown New Martinsville in the event organized by Alyssa Huggins whose daughter Ayla has Type 1 diabetes.

Missing child from New Martinsville located by U.S. Marshalls in Atlanta, Georgia. New Martinsville Library sets up Giving Tree which accepts cash donations for new books for eligible children. This year was the 27th year for the annual giving tree at the library.

December – Wetzel County Officals sworn in to office on December 9, at the Wetzel County Courthouse by the Honorable Judge Jeffery D. Cramer. Elected officials sworn in were Wetzel County Prosecutor Timothy Haught who starts his sixth term, Sheriff Mike Koontz for his second term, Scott Lemmley Assessor for another term and Carla McBee newly elected Wetzel County Commissioner. Also sworn in to office were Wetzel County Assistant Prosecuters Justin Craft and Carolyn Flannery.

200 people marched in support of Switzerland of Ohio school teachers in Woodsfield at the Board of Education Office. Teachers were rallying for a new contract agreement.

Senator Charles Clements R-Wetzel, named chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure for the 85th state Legislature. Magnoia’s Issac Snider named 1st team All-Valley Soccer. Magnolia’s Mady Winters signs with Wheeling University to continue her volleyball career.

New Martinsville Police and Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department hold annual shop with a cop event. This year 75 kids were selected to shop with a cop and each child was afforded $250 to spend as they saw fit under the guideance of local police officers.

Esther Crumbly fund helps feed 450 families as the board of directors held a drive thru event on December 1, at the Catholic Church Klug Hall in New Martinsville. New Martinsville Parks and Recreation held their annual free gift giveaway at Lewis/Wetzel Park. The two day event drew large crowds with social distancing and mask requirements in place.

New Martinsville held a drive thru Christmas Parade on Main Street with businesses, organizations, and homeowners decorating and giving away gifts. A special visit from Santa Claus delighted those of all ages. City officials, Firefighters, EMS, Police officers, Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department and County Officials all took part.

This is small portion of the many stories and news events that took place throughout the year. But as you can see we had a lot of good to go along with the bad. With that we wish everyone a safe and happy New Year.